Listening for the Alien Heartbeat

Today the lonely journey home.  A weary man regrets what he has not done:

Sri Lanka: Man Walking Home on Railway Tracks

At Kandy I seek my last Sri Lankan Tea: thick and sweet.  In beautiful Singhalese script I am offered:

Tea-time Cake Rs150/=

Jujubes Rs60/=

Hindus sit on the ground fixing umbrellas. Muslims corner the pastry market.  Dogs wander, bereft of social purpose, sad.

I negotiate the Byzantine railway rules, the friendly suicidal tuktuks, little girls in bonnets, plump babies dressed regrettably, 3rd class carriages, “No Riding on the Footboard” and join a train:

Sri Lanka: Boys Hanging Out of TrainEven at the stations there are coconut palms, banana trees, mangoes, forest cashews, small red temples.  How can an island so bountiful have so many poor?

Sri Lanka: Kids and Cow on Train TracksWe pass old English railway stations, palms, red flowering trees, a woman in a print dress running with her cow:

Sri Lanka: Woman Running with Cow Near TrainWe followed the warm rails into the red sky, my last here.  But trains, even when the rails are warm, do not turn back, do not err.  And for this, I was melancholy.

Sri Lanka: Sunset on Warm Tracks(events 18 Jan 2013)

30 Responses to “Going Home”

    • wewerenothing

      Just being bad here — You ask, “How can an island so bountiful have so many poor,” and then in your next line you mention the English presence/past. Colonialism and post-colonialism is part, though not all, of the answer to that, wandering, wondering alien heartbeat. Walk good (Jamaican for “Walk with god/safe journey”) as you take the turn for home.

      • alienheartbeat

        Yes I know. As I said in my first post on Sri Lanka “While colonial rule was on balance good for some places, Sri Lanka was not one of them”. Thanks for the good wishes: I love that “Walk good”.

  1. Sam Han

    Such a melancholy piece but all good and bad things must come to an end. Take care and safe journey home.

    • alienheartbeat

      Sorry about the melancholy. I guess it came from there being so many places to go that I doubt if I will ever get back.

      • Sam Han

        Keep your mind open… stay positive! There are other parts of the world to see, explore and discover! I wish you all the best wherever you go 🙂

  2. Jessica

    Everything about this post was beautiful. Your words, rich—I was there; your pictures, passion—the truth behind what you say. I understand your melancholy.

  3. Victoria

    Gorgeous shots. I can feel your melancholy, Michael. And I share that same question, as well.
    Travel well my friend.

  4. drawandshoot

    A stirring post, Michael. Beautiful words and images of places and people you obviously are moved by.
    For some reason, I think melancholy holds the strongest memories.

  5. Dina

    Truly great. I enjoyed it from the beginning to the end. It goes under the skin.

      • Dina

        I thought so, you feel it when you read it. Well, I did.
        That makes it so great. You are really very talented in articulating emotions in a few words that stir something within the reader. Keep up the good work!
        L♥ve Dina

    • alienheartbeat

      yes, you are right. Widespread poverty in a rich country is not a 3rd world phenomenon only. However what may be different is the difference in opportunity.

  6. LadyBlueRose's Thoughts Into Words

    melancholy thoughts paint vivid and stark realism to me,
    your photographs give a soft voice to the melancholy as you add your voice…
    physically you may not return but memories will keep part of you there….
    I enjoyed your post…and your photographs are breath-taking…..
    Thank you for sharing your journey…..
    Take care…You Matter…

    • alienheartbeat

      Thanks very much. As for whether or not I “matter” – well, that is a complicated question on which there is some dispute 😉

      • LadyBlueRose's Thoughts Into Words

        there is never a dispute for all thoughts within and of an energy matters…as well as the energy itself ..each holds a piece in their being to create a better world….
        we just have to figure out where we fit…
        Take Care…You Matter… 🙂

  7. alienheartbeat

    Thanks. I’m not sure if that man on the tracks was really there, or just a reflection of my own heart at the time.


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