Sunday & Songkran

Here’s my Sunday world, in about 25 miles and five hours.

The yoga babes connect and head for the 10:15 ferry, which is currently at the “yellow” threat level, according to TSA. Given how peaceful it is here on the water, I’m inclined to think that refers to the yellow-green pollen, which is coating houses, cars, and the interior of nasal passages with irritating chartreuse dust. We are at the chartreuse threat level. It’s one of the few complaints I have about spring.

White herons stalk and work the shoreline for fish as the ferry pulls out. The birds pay us no mind, acting as if the ferry zips to and from the island on a regular basis. Which it does. Cormorants sit on the channel markers and watch us head off the tip of the island. Later they’ll disappear under the water for way too long, popping back above the surface nowhere near where they dove down. I worry about them down there, but they don’t seem to care. They dive anyway, again and again.

Screaming seagulls follow the ferry, jockeying for thrown food and good camera angles. (Note to tourists: If God had intended seagulls to eat Wonder Bread, the ocean itself would produce that crap. Just don’t do it. Please.)

From the ferry landing, it’s a pretty straight shot: You take the main road (might be the only road) out of town until you come to the “Worms & Coffee” sign (I am not joking) at the little gas station, and turn down the side road there.

Mobile homes, brick ranches with dog pens out back, long dusty driveways. We drive a couple of miles. We pass the Antioch Baptist Church, whose sign warns: “You can spurn the Lord for only so long.”

Soon we pass the Praise the Lord Beauty Salon, a Pentecostal church, and the Midway Gun and ATV Club.

A curve in the road, a “Visitors Welcome” sign and we’re there, at the Thai Buddhist Monastery, Wat Carolina.

It’s Songkran, the Thai New Year’s Water Festival. There are dances, chanting, a dharma talk. I watch; I listen. I don’t understand a word of the various ceremonies that appear to be taking place simultaneously. I eat wonderful food – hot, aromatic, and much of it unrecognizable to me.

I don’t understand a word, but I feel positive energy everywhere around me. We march around the outside of the temple, and I can figure out how and when to shout and clap with the others. I am splashed with water for good luck and prosperity in the new year. Lots of water.

We sit again inside the temple and a man with a huge ball of twine wraps it around us all. I am on the inside of the circle, and for a while I feel like I belong here. I suppose I am a sightseer, a tourist, but I don’t feel like one. I am peaceful. I feel part of this circle. The man unwraps the twine, but I am still part of the circle. Later the monks will wrap prayers into the twine and people will tie the prayer-filled twine around their wrists.

Soon it’s time to leave, and we make our way back to the ferry. We drive, a little too fast the last few miles, and our car is the last one to make it on the ferry before it leaves. We are grateful.

The TSA sign still says the threat level is “elevated.”

Somehow I don’t believe it just now.

20 comments to Sunday & Songkran

  • You sure lead an interesting life. I don’t know if you know or not, but PGS ran a special on the Buddha last weekend. Here is the link if you are intersted http://video.pbs.org/video/1461557530.

    Although it is impossible for me to stick my head in the sand and totally ignore the threat levels at the ports, I try not to allow them to affect my day. You can’t live in fear – live in life instead.

    • Natasha

      Oh, DS, thank you so much for the PBS link! It looks wonderful. I’ll watch it tonight. Have you seen it?

      I don’t know if I have an interesting life or not, but I do try to see and do interesting things. It blows me away to think of all the different facets and kinds of of life hanging out more or less together on that same little stretch of NC county road. That’s interesting, I think….

      • I watched it last week. The production was tastefully done and very informative. I think you will really enjoy it. I may even watch it again. 🙂

        I’m laughing my tush off at my TYPO in the first comment. A – did a fine job of providing us with tools. You think I would learn to use them.

        • Natasha

          Hey, I knew what you meant. Grab a cup of tea or a glass of wine and sit down with me to watch the PBS thang, okay?

  • What a wonderful day. I felt like I was there with you. Did you tie the twine around your wrist? Just curious…
    It would be hard to feel threatened after a day like that. Thanks for sharing.

    • Natasha

      It was a lovely day. I’m glad it came alive for you. We actually didn’t stay to get the twine since that was gonna happen hours later. But we can visit another day and the monks will do it then. My friend Barbara still has her twine from last year’s Songkran on her wrist. Yeah, it really was a nice day. 🙂

  • I’m losing my mind today … well, more than usual. I could have sworn I left a comment here earlier. ANYWAY, thank you for taking me on this little trip. You Florida people are so interesting. 😀

  • Oooo, I just noticed I could edit my comments here … has that always been available? I wish I could offer than on my blog. And I wish every blog did because I make the stupidest typos in comments.

  • You do have the most interesting adventures. You are my inspiration for living life to its fullest!
    Thanks for taking me along.

    • Natasha

      Why, thank you, Parrot! I’m actually a major wuss for anything involving excessive heights (like 3 steps up a ladder) and/or physical risk, but I’m game for pretty much everything else.

  • First, I totally laughed when I read “If God had intended seagulls to eat Wonder Bread, the ocean itself would produce that crap.” So true!!!

    Second, I was totally pulled in by your description of your day! Very interesting and I nearly felt I was there!

  • What an adventure! Thanks for sharing. You’re always doing such cool things.

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