I was in India when my dear Mother died, I rushed back via various flights to join with my brothers and friends.
It was (still is) all a blur, so many details missed up through it all, though as is my custom, I assembled oddities in a scrapbook and made annotations along the way.
As such, evidence, including: a boarding pass for the worst flight ever; a list of tasks to complete rapidly to leave Joy guesthouse in Auroville by taxi to Chennai airport; and a poem which I can’t at this moment remember who wrote/gave to me. Was it you?
Project: Upon turning 50 years old on August 16, 2020, Dave Olson (me, hello) is posting a photo (or maybe photos) a day / per year – starting with 1970 with intent of chronicling existence through various primary evidence sourced from studio portraits, class photos, ID / passport photos, or occasionally other “casual/group/random” shots when the above don’t exist in my archive (note: not “artificial intelligence,” really me, pulled from shoeboxes, journals, wallets and whatnot – diligently scanned and dated via glasses and haircuts, lightly annotated).
Some years ago (1996 maybe), poet Gary Snyder was doing a reading at Evergreen College in Olympia, Washington. Folks are lined up with stacks of books for him to sign, including, books not by him but my other “associated“ writers. Thought this was very cheesy.
Anyhow, I only took a ragged copy of “Passage through India”. He gave a big chuckle and says “I don’t see many of these anymore” as he signed. Told him how i’d rambled with his books tucked in my rucksack through and arriving in Japan and reading Backcountry in Kyoto waiting for a bus to make me to Mochigase and start work on a mushroom farm.
Also, I had mailed him a documentary film I made (Hempenroad), and he recognized me from that and talked for a while about hemp and ecology while others waited impatiently to have him sign some Burroughs book or something. Felt so incredibly proud that he was aware of my existence.
While i started enjoying haircuts when i found a barber shop which also offered libations, good tunes, pinball and the like, since “the illness” I made a list of things I can do which involves sitting down, but gets me out of the house, and leaves me with a feeling of satisfaction.
These include: making scrapbooks, seeing matinée movies, sitting in parks under a tree, getting my beard professionally trimmed (rather than chopping at it myself) plus trim up the haircut,… as well as pedicures documented elsewhere.
While rambling, i like to seek out the hole-in-the-wall, no fuss, traditional barbers and enjoy a leisurely visit. Its hit or miss sometimes but ya know, hair grows back right? Sometimes, not always, i grab a snap with the barber or the shop or me before and after… sometimes i don’t so you won’t see those.
Oh sometimes i recall names and/or locations, this is not meant to be comprehensive, just amusing and vaguely documentary. This assortment features barbers in international locations (meaning *not* Canada and USA), moreorless (pending).
These days – what with the M.E.(cfs) and Fibro etc. – slowing me down, I find activities to get me out of the house which requires doing not much but sitting.
While pedicures may not seem like a medical therapy, and they’re certainly not, self-care is important part of my healing journey. Indeed, when feeling frustrated and early days of the illness, I made a list of things I can do which involves sitting down, but get me out of the house, and leave me with a feeling of satisfaction. These ideas include: making scrapbooks, watching matinée movies, sitting in parks under a tree, getting my beard professionally trimmed (rather than chopping at it myself), as well as enjoying pedicures.
As such, on all my healing journeys, I find pedicure places to massage and soothe my feet, trim up my nails, and leave with some colour to decorate. (Noting this predilection often elicits a strange response from the practitioners as painted toes aren’t as common for men as they are for women certainly, but I find this practice quite enjoyable nonetheless.)
In some cases, I paint my toes the colour of a local flag or other traditional local schemes (coconut trees, bamboo, waves…), otherwise I generally stick to shades of blue and green. For the record: Indonesia and Thailand definitely have the best pedicure practitioners (is that the proper term?), but I’m also eager to try pedicures in Vietnam as many manicurists in the USA, come from Vietnam.
In India especially, they thought my practice of painting toes was very strange, as such, i did myself (very poorly yet joyfully nonetheless). In Nepal, they were low on supplies but made do with some rugged polish which was moreorless impervious to removal. Once or twice, i enjoyed a pedicure whilst at sea.
I first started this practice at the advice of a remarkable lady who took me for a pedicure in Vancouver before going to Jamaica the first time at that time, I had Jamaican flags painted on my big toes (not sure i have a photo…). Sometimes i take photos of my toes, not all the time, here are some of mah big ole ugly feets. Sometimes i forget and just take snap of the old colour before replacing. No annotations since i don’t expect anyone will look or care, i mean really, its just photos of my feet – ewwww. Continue reading Mementos: Pedicures, various→
When the “wheels fell off” and i hit the methaporical and literal wall wth my illness, i attempted to disappear to heal myself. This journey started in Vegas and SLC and Logan (Utah) where i saw my Mom for the last time. Then by various transport schemes which frankly i don’t recall (though there was a stop in Pacific, CA in there), i ended up in Thailand for a barrage of medical test and treatments and then to India where i lived in-patient in an Ayurveda clinic for several weeks, venturing out rarely. The journey continued in India to Auroville and was from then on thwarted by unexpected tragic circumstance.
This notebook was a from brother Bob from a Japanese 100 yen shop. The paper is thin but robust and the journal comes with a string to hold it all together which pleases me as i can bundle the whole assortments of oddments up. By oddments i mean stickers, cards, clippings, tickets, appointment cards, scribblings of poetry, musings, annotations, signatures from strangers, paper scraps of all sort.
The world is on fire (and somehow i’m still in the dark)
Info and Call for Help for Kerala, India Flooding (Aug. 2018)
Indeed, the world is in a delicate and dareisay angry condition of late – whales are sending messages, my home province of BC is literally on fire, Indonesia is quaking over and over, California is also aflame, Japan is melting and typhooning, Hawaii bracing, and so on and on and on and on…
While *everywhere* is suffering it seems, i call your attention of the plight of another special place for me: Kerala, India. This lovely state is where my life started again – sequestered in an Ayurvedic clinic under the care of lovely and smart Dr. Veena Hemesh, my brain and body started sparking again.
Now this region of creamsicles-coloured homes, endless moustaches, earnest engineers and intrepid houseboats finds itself flooded with thousands displaced and seeking food, water, safety.
As such, if you are able, consider making a donation by the official channels detailed below to help these decent folks recover from this calamity (i did).
I’ll share a few bits of creativity crafted in Cochin (Kochi) and area… the area is one of historical tolerance with long-standing Jewish, Chinese communities and a noted religious tolerance. Occupied in different eras by Portuguese, Dutch and British, the area provided soldiers to fight WW1 (despite not having a horse in the race as it were) and now produces more engineers and doctors than any other region in India (which keep in mind was an assortment of “Princely states” before British-exit/partition.
Tourists come here for houseboat adventures through backwaters and others (like me) come for Ayurveda treatment (Kerala is the heartland for this ancient medical tradition).
Either way, people are struggling and you might be able to help. Easiest way is via Tranferwise who even waive their fee if donation is of a certain amount.
If you do donate, please let me know and i’ll send you a postcard of personal thanks. Otherwise consider a share, a kind word, poems or annotations.
Gallery of creamsicle coloured houses near Kerala, Kochi
DETAILS for DONATIONS
Chief Ministers Distress Relief Fund, (CMDRF) accepts voluntary contributions from Individuals, Organizations, Trusts, Companies and Institutions etc. All contributions towards CMDRF are exempt from Income Tax under section 80(G).
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Account Number : 67319948232
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Arriving in India via Cochin (Kochi), Kerala, bound for an extended stay in an Ayurvedic clinic in Tripunitura, i snapped impressions along the way, capturing the washes of colours and shapes of everyday life. Also a trek into Fort Kochi on Remembrance Day to pay respects at a cenotaph (documented in a B&W photo essay and a Remembrance day podcast and a peace ramble video)
Snapped with a Lomo La Sardina (sardine can) camera with expired 35mm film, presented “as-is” with no edits and limited context, for your amusement and my memory.