I am back home now, terribly jet lagged, my head swirling with images of India. I still have so much to write about and many photos to post. And yet, my confused mind wonders if it is 7 pm or is it 7am?
I came across this poem by Mary Oliver from her book, A Thousand Mornings, written when she was in India. I read this poem to my group on the bus, as we were heading to the airport on departure day. Though we did not go to Varanasi on this tour, we saw many such images of people living their lives along the river, especially on the day we rode canoes along the backwaters in Kerala.
Mostly I love the last line of the poem below, “Pray God I remember this.” It is also my prayer. I hope to always remember the precious memories of all that I lived and experienced in India:
Early in the morning we crossed the ghat,
where fires were still smoldering,
and gazed, with our Western minds, into the Ganges.
A woman was standing in the river up to her waist;
she was lifting handfuls of water and spilling it
over her body, slowly and many times,
as if until there came some moment
of inner satisfaction between her own life and the river’s.
Then she dipped a vessel she had brought with her
and carried it filled with water back across the ghat,
no doubt to refresh some shrine near where she lives,
for this is the holy city of Shiva, maker
of the world, and this is his river.
I can’t say much more, except that it all happened
in silence and peaceful simplicity, and something that felt
like that bliss of a certainty and a life lived
in accordance with that certainty.
I must remember this, I thought, as we fly back
Pray God I remember this.