Karen guide: “You guys are good…you…you move at Villager’s pace”

By November 30, 20102010, Asia

Blog – Monday November 29th 2010
Chiang Mai Thailand
Greg Rickard

With this blog I wish to comment and put words to the intangibility of mutual accomplishment. During our stay in the mountains with a Karen tribe, our group had the opportunity to take part in a jungle trek. Needless to say I was enthralled at the idea! Long had I dreamt of far eastern jungles, the thought of stumbling upon some ancient ruin that the jungle had reclaimed was, and is still, a very colorful aspiration. This thought returned to me as I tried to sleep through the incessant rooster calling that provided the lullaby to our village. Indeed, as the morning mist began to dissipate throughout the village, the smell of wood fires and boiling teapots filled in the ambiance. Soon after, the students began to gather.
The trek was on, through tall grass and over streams. Uphill we began to climb, slippery mud and hanging vines. Breath heavy and burning thighs. Further and further, upward we walked. Soon we reached level ground, though a satisfying view was nowhere to be found. Though this was acceptable at the moment, as any continued angling of our path would have been quite strenuous indeed. But wait! After a quick translation, we soon discover that our young Karen guide is indeed taking us to the scenic lookout/summit. Excellent!
From solid gravel to sliding pine needles we press on. A series of switchbacks laden with loose dirt is now our trail. Motivation sets in, a driving need to stay directly behind our Karen guide. My legs suddenly feel fifty pounds heavier. Further, faster, quicker! Go go go! The ground levels out…we are now on top of the Thai landscape! I immediately look behind me and find Daniel Beaudoin, who too has just arrived at the summit. I smile and throw out an open palm to him, which he receives and grips with equal intensity. In this moment, this holy moment, there is no need of words. All that we wished to say to each other was shared in a single moment of intangible communion through our suffering and accomplishment. It is this conquering, and this unspoken communion that I wish to continue to search for in the finally days of our trip.

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