Stagnant lake

Galen Tsongas - Ecuador


January 25, 2013

Belay all judgments. Think. Observe. Ask. When words like weird, disorganized, and crazy are used, what is happening? Why do I perceive that someone is disorganized, or weird? I lived in a relatively small capsule where thoughts converged to funnel certain thoughts down rivulets that led to a lake of stagnant thoughts. The thoughts of judgments didn’t differentiate and people were weird and crazy because they were different, and did things inefficiently. Now. What does that mean? Think. Observe. Ask.

Views change. There are expectations, stereotypes, and ideas that are based off of hearsay and television which have no merit whatsoever. Let me set one thing straight: Ecuador is a country filled with different regions, different cities, and different people. The rain forest is similar in this aspect. Not everyone is a guru of nature, prancing about with sacred knowledge of the earth, naked. In fact, I’ve yet to see anyone naked, or a community of naked natives, drinking ayawaska tea. People dress in pants and shirts, socks, underwear, and yes, even shoes. There are so many expectations I had on arrival that have been absolutely disproved and slashed to ribbons. I was stuck in state of mind that supported one kind of view, in political terms, that I find gross now, which will make it much simpler to understand: The Left. I happen to have a left side on my body, a right, a middle, a top, and a bottom. I don’t define my views as Left, Right, Conservative, or Radical anymore because these just benefit classification of thoughts which are beautiful ideas that I don’t believe need to be categorized. I am straying away from any sort of classification, judgments, and opinions that constrain growth of ideas and individual identity. If I used just my left side of my body, I’d be hopping up stairs and tripping upwards, only to fall down. When water is in a tube and gas is shot upwards, the water has but one option, to go up. However! Drill holes into the tube and repeat… The water goes where it will. And eliminate the tube all together, let the water flow on the ground, and there is no restriction for the water; it can go every way. If we are water, earth is our ground, and the communities we dwell in, the groups we associate ourselves with, are our tubes. This is how I try to live now, with no tubes hindering my self growth; observe your situations, ideas, and those of anyone else’s without making any sort of judgment. What does right, wrong, bad, or good mean? Is there a universal meaning? What does “common good” mean, and who is common? Good for who? I pose some questions to anyone reading because these are some questions I’ve been asking myself. I try to live now, questioning.

I am alive right now. I can see, hear, feel, taste, smell, think, and live… This is life. The dead are dead. And once dead, the former living no longer exist as they once did in the short present and the infinite future, but instead are stopped in the present to drift into the ever growing past; there to be remembered, then forgotten, or not. Life is what all living have, truly have, so live now. The past will always be there, and the future too, because that is what gives the living a present to be present in. Future, to present, to past. We live in the present while constantly moving into the future. The future will be there to drag us from the present, constantly. That is why I’m here now, in the present. How can you have a present if the present is the future? How can you have a past if the present is the future? And while some of us content ourselves with the rigors, and even tortures, of moving ahead to the distant future, telling ourselves that torture now will secure for us a fruitful future, we are killing the present and have killed the past, reaching for an uncertainty. Do not give up, sell, or annihilate parts of yourselves that you will never again have. So go out and talk with the canoe steersman at your local river port. Or! Go shower in the rain. The experiences will always be imprinted upon the mind.

The mind preserves memories, experiences, or emotions that were had during the experiences. The camera projects a mere second of an experience that, to any observer who wasn’t there at that moment, reflects only a picture. The observer can’t know what anyone felt in that picture although they can be told. The pictures I have taken are mausoleums. The pictures I will take will become mausoleums. Yes, my friends, my family, you want to see what I’ve been up to, I know. But you can’t know and will never know. None of you were there during that time. I look back at pictures I’ve taken; I close my eyes and I can remember, I can visualize that exact moment with the emotions, hand gestures, sounds, smells… sights. It’s like I was there in the pictures and I’m alive at that moment again with the cognizance of my past. The past lives on in my memory. Ghosts? Perhaps if ghosts can be believed in, then those people in my memories are ghosts of a sort and I too am a ghost, wandering the halls of memories, haunting them. Yes, I will take pictures. But whoever the observer may be, the pictures will always be pictures, a combination of different hues that reflect the past. To me, those pictures will be my memories, they will be a part of me that cannot be recreated for anyone.

Don’t ask, “What’s Ecuador like?” or “how is Ecuador?” Please. I cannot recount every second of my time here, which seems to me the only way to answer those questions. Is that what I’m supposed to do? I don’t think so. I think people want to hear thoughts on my experiences, and only portions of my time here. But that won’t answer the questions. I appreciate the interest when asking questions like that, I highly value them, but know that they will go unanswered unless I am to retort with a simple “good” or “different” which mean nothing to me. I enjoy my time here. Accept this as a simple answer to such complicated questions. I enjoy my time here… That’s only another four months and It’s almost Christmas.

When I was in school I would count the days until Christmas because there was no school for two weeks, I received gifts, and I didn’t have to do much of anything. I count the days here only because I want to know how much time I have left to enjoy my life at this stage. I would prefer staying longer than four months, but I know my path leads back to San Francisco, my city. But even by counting the months, weeks, days… I lose track of it all. I am a rock as the water of time washes over me. The vortex, or tube of time, as it seems to shrink in on us, is a complete illusion for me. If time actually exists (because it is contested that time is a creation of human minds and I have yet to believe if ALL time IS, or ISN’T) why should I concern myself with time allotted to my experiences? Should I not just let everything be and enjoy experiences while they last in time? Maybe there is no overall time for everyone, and the illusion, or reality of time, but this idea of time exists in the individual. My individual time, then, will not be concerned with any time and all I know for certain is that the sun rises and sinks. I surrender my life to my own time and my time is my clay… Although… I could go for a veggie burger with bacon.

Galen Tsongas