We are in the midst of what I believe The Old Farmers' Almanac calls a"cold snap" or "cold spell". For many parts of the world a week of temperatures that do not get above freezing is not a big deal. I realized this as I looked at photos in a National Geographic of reindeer herder children with brilliant red cheeks wearing huge coats of reindeer hide, furs side inwards. I admire the reindeer people but am very glad to live in a more temperate zone. This will end, probably some time this week. Skies have been clear and blue and a great full moon shines upon us. Lovely and wonderful as it is, I envy a friend who is headed of Barbardos in a few days.
In an abstract way I like weather but, like most people, I take weather very personally depending on how comfortable I am. In that same National Geographic is an article about the growing numbers of shamans in Mongolia. With all the climate changes, I understand people turning to traditional ways of understanding the world. Many of the shamans now practicing are women -- again, not a surprise. The magazine has a photo of a Taatsen shaman, a woman who I met briefly in Mongolia who showed our small group into her tent and pointed out her drum and talismans. When I think of those hardy, brave people in this season living in tents -- very much as the American plains Indians lived, I shiver and am in awe that in this age of cell phones and jet travel, still tribal people live in a traditional, nomadic ways. And they have wisdom that eludes us. We do not envy their hardship, but I, for one, am in awe, of their traditions. That moon shining on me in an hour or so, shone on them twenty-four or thereabouts, hours ago. Something about that is comforting but I can't define it.
I have to say that travel gives one a wonderful sense of balance. The world is huge and the more of it we can managed to see in our lifetimes, the more we realize we are all one under the light of the moon and the sun. We live in very different ways, we can barely understand one another. I am always very distressed when I talk with people who have no concept of the variety and wonder of the people who share our planet. I feel relatively certain I was merely one of a group of foreigners to that Taatsen shaman woman, but to me she was a representative of numerous groups who live very differently than I do and an indication of all I do not know about our world. I cannot be the Eurocentric thinker I find in so much of what I read in our western papers and magazines.
The mid-70s are a surprise! Part of me remains in the 50s -- age, I mean, not decade of 20th century. It's a joy ride, new experiences land in my lap and I've become a better quilter, poet, writer than I expected. It's a rich life for a person never rich financially. Hey, this is what the mid-70s are like!