Today the lonely journey home. A weary man regrets what he has not done:
At Kandy I seek my last Sri Lankan Tea: thick and sweet. In beautiful Singhalese script I am offered:
Tea-time Cake Rs150/=
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:
Even 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?
We pass old English railway stations, palms, red flowering trees, a woman in a print dress running with her cow:
We 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.
30 Responses to “Going Home”
Love your pictures also. Great post.
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.
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”.
Such a melancholy piece but all good and bad things must come to an end. Take care and safe journey home.
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.
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 🙂
Rich color and rich culture.
yes, I will miss it.
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.
Thanks very much. I have always loved trains and train tracks, and everything they mean.
Gorgeous shots. I can feel your melancholy, Michael. And I share that same question, as well.
Travel well my friend.
Thanks Victoria. As you know travelling always asks as many questions as it answers.
The pictures are so poignant.
thanks. the first is one of my favorite.
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.
Thanks Karen. I think it is that they have suffered so much, but are still such nice people.
Truly great. I enjoyed it from the beginning to the end. It goes under the skin.
Thanks Dina. Under my skin also.
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!
Thought provoking. The very “rich” USA has much of the same for far too many.
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.
There’s just something about people hanging off of trains that says “South Asia”.
Absolutely. And people with baskets selling stuff at stations.
beautiful photographs and beautiful words…love this post too.
I am embarrassed to admit it, but sometimes I also have some favourite posts, and this is one of them.
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…
Thanks very much. As for whether or not I “matter” – well, that is a complicated question on which there is some dispute 😉
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… 🙂
Your first sentence and first shot…poignant and perfect.
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.