Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Prayer at Dawn on the River Ganges

Up at 4:30, simple breakfast of dry bread and honey pilfered from a market stall, a thimble of jam, small coffee drank from a water glass beneath a street light. I am headed down to the Varanasi Ghats to watch the people wash and pray.
Throw hiking boots over my shoulder, don’t care about the stink of cow dung stuck to my soles. I’m tougher than I look, fill my bottle from the tap, don’t look back that’s a trap, the Ghats of Varanasi are not place for a Red Sox cap, imagine that, as I head down in the blue dawn to the Ganges.
I carry a flashlight, when was the last time you traveled an ancient city with a torch, but I know things, secret things, all along through this plight, I was right. Follow the women in saris carrying pails, down the stairs, no one stares. There’s your boat, boy. See, the old man is laying a blanket for you to sit on the bow. Rest now. Let the morning come.
Old man is rowing, keeping us afloat, tourists pass with their cameras out. The Indians pray, they moan and sway, they undress without duress, no stress. I promise you that. I watch too. They watch me. We are on each other’s televisions for free. It is nice because this time the magic is you and me.
I don’t know anymore what I am seeing, I wish someone was here to tell me what is real. I wish I had a companion to show me the way, not this old man. He only leads me to the magic and then puts out his hands for me to pay. I don’t pay to pray. Never have. No start now. Not when all this magic is around for free.
The world is wide, I know that. I know I will never rest until I see all of it. And somehow I know you won’t either. I like that about us, that we are two peas in a pod that stretches around the globe. Maybe someday we’ll sit again together in a little peapod. When you’re ready. Until then, don’t forget what I say.
I say, the world is magic, oh yes. There are places like this that exist. And I stopped trying to rhyme because it sounds corny after time, but my lyrics, my words, I hope you heard. I hope they made you know. Know what? That the world is waiting for us. That there is beauty to be shared every day, even in the mundane.
So sing your own song. I will beg to you no more. I will weep at your feet no more. I will crawl to your temple as a pilgrim no more. And when you’re ready, I’ll be here. I promise to hold you near. Because I’ll still believe in the magic of you, even if you don’t.
Until then, please know, it was worth it to cross the world just to find out if magic was real, and it is.

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