Saturday, September 09, 2006

Thangka you very much...

Cup of bad coffee in hand, I walked down the gray, wood steps. Above, the sky was blue and the sun beamed down in warm rays. Not a bad day.

Expecting to find a stack of soon to be recycled crap in the box, I was a bit surprised to see the tell-tale orange card left by mail carriers around America. The small cards either tell a tale of woe, or one of excitement and anticipation. Sign for the registered letter favored by lawyers and bill collectors, or sorry we couldn't leave the package but you can pick it up at the post office. No telling till you look.

A moment of apprehension held my hand back - a moment to wonder what I had screwed up this time.

A moment of apprehension followed by an outward breath of air.

This was for a package. A package with an origin of China. The travelling soul in me mentally took flight at that simple word in the corner box of the card. China. So far away. Far away, and yet as close as my mailbox. Well, maybe not my mailbox exactly, but the post office isn't that far off when you think in terms of half the globe.

Up the steps I went. Up and changed. Changed into a clean tee shirt. It was the least I could do. When the world arrives from the other side of the planet, the least you can do is greet it in a clean tee shirt.

Into the Jeep and downtown. Down to the post office.

Of course it wasn't there. The carrier was still out and the package was with her. Try again at quarter to five if you want. I want.

Into the Jeep again. Killing time. Starbucks for overpriced coffee and a glimpse of the cute, new girl. Trying to stretch time. Enough time passed, so back downtown I go.

There you go sir. China? Wow China. Tibet actually, but now's not the time for a debate on international borders. The large tube is in my hands. Tibet to my hands in just over a week, what do I care if it says China?

Home again, and with wonder I pull a rolled image from a the large tube. I release more than a hundred years as I unroll the Thangka. Barely more than a week to arrive. More than a hundred years in a monastery. An afternoon of suspense. Mailbox, post office, Starbucks, rinse and repeat. What is time anyway?

Such is the power of a painting. Some pigment bound to cloth. Shapes, colors, nothing and everything. Another world rolled up and held in a tube.

Yeah, not a bad day.


dbackdad said...

Very cool. My personal indulgence is Persian rugs ... though limited by my scant funds.

Laura said...

beautiful. I love asian arts.

Shawn said...

DBD - I love rugs too...I like the rougher tribal rugs, so mine are all Afghan. Got a few Afghan saddlebags too. It's amazing to think someone made these things.

Laura - I like some Asian stuff and can't stand some. Guess that's true of all art forms though.

tshsmom said...

So who do you know in Tibet?

Slade said...

that is too awesome!

I went to see some Tibetan monks perform once and bought this beautiful double dorge necklace for only $5

Miranda said...

Wonderful post! *Clap*
Is the cute girl worth the overpriced coffee? ;)

Kate said...

Yay! I love this post! I can feel all the pleasantry in your day!

Shawn said...

Tmom - No one...yet. I have met some Tibetan monks though. I poked fun at one of them who I called Brother Eats A Lot because he was enamored with all the fruit to be found in the States. The guy was always eager to eat and he smiled a lot.

Slade - You said double it okay if I'm in love with you for that?

M - A cute girl is always worth overpriced coffee and often crummy tasting coffee as well. In my world anyway!

Kate - It was a pretty good day. But then again...just waking up is a pretty good thing. Everything beyond that is bonus!

Wendy said...

That is beautiful. I absolutely LOVE getting gifts in the mail! It can make my entire week. Recently I got a gift from a friend who was spending a month in Andalusia, Spain. It was so exciting. It was some beautiful hand-painted tiles. I guess it's partially the thought and care to send something but also the mystery of what has arrived from half way around the world.