Four Words To Live By (I’ve been told)

The serenity of the egret in the rice field as the water buffalo lumber by. The serenity of the buffalo as they wander, slow avalanche slow, across the road. Traffic slows and stops, drivers, riders hypnotised by the swaying flanks and horns.

He rests one foot on the ground, the other on a pedal, and smiles. The ballet of traffic has taken an animal turn. As soon as the buffalo pass, scooters will speed past his swoops and wobbles but the smile will remain with him.

Back from the sea, salt and sand is spa-showered away along with the sweat of the ride. The sound of the frogs fills the room as the mosquito net drifts in the breeze from the charred bamboo fan. Later, as thoughts and feelings fuse together like smoke, he will fall asleep to sensual whispers of rain.

He did not believe in the sublime except for two moments. That saffron moment on a night flight when a monk walked by, bowed head and a gentle smile at the edge of his pool of reading light. Later a nun tied threads round his wrist and the dam holding the tears back crumbled.

Even later he thought back to his experiences. He saw his green reflection in the lotus pond and it was then that his life was decided.

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