Reading through my journal from India, today’s entry a year ago:
February morning on the train to Goa, the landscape slowly changing outside the window. Slums and unfinished high rises, rooms open like gaping mouths, giving way to open space, the occasional river and a blue sky desperate to be seen through the haze of burning trash. Make-shift homes dot the side of the tracks. The land seems to devour, slowly, patiently, whatever tries to find stability in it. Rusted out tractors succumbing to the relentless presence of all that is not human.
Morning glories grow amidst feces and layers of waste. And it reminds me that the lotus blooms in the mud.
My edge today is that this, the rawness and dirt of this, makes me so uncomfortable. I say that and I struggle to find beauty in all of this. And then I see a woman laying vibrant cloths out to dry and a simple red-framed shack and my edge blurs a little. Perhaps the dinginess is not out there but rather this window through which I gaze that is tinted and tinged. How do I clean this window, how do I clear the glass so that I can take all this in through a lens not so clouded by discomfort?
Or perhaps all of that is some of it, being with discomfort. Not trying to see the flowers in the trash, but seeing the trash. Seeing the suffering and the dirt. Letting it make me uncomfortable because it should. I will leave here in a few months and return to a land that fears the messy-ness of reality and humanity. Where authenticity is a struggle because honesty and speaking your truth is sometimes messy. There is a truth to the filth, to the dirt, and to living a life in it.