Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Golden Fish

When the dogs begin to bark and the shrine bells ring with vigor, I know that the valley is emerging from its dark but colorful world of the dreamers into the cold bright mists of another day in Samsara. It is too early to find an open restaurant or shop, but by the time that I walk from Thamel to Naxal, just beyond the Narayanhiti Royal Palace, Mike's will be open for breakfast. It is winter, so a young man shows me to a table inside what looks to be a hundred year old palace and he pulls a space heater close to warm me. There I dine alone with my pad and paper and a real cup of coffee. My hand in a fingerless glove, I take notes about my dreams, I sketch new designs, I plan my day, and I wait with anticipation for tourists to arrive and tell me the stories of their lives.

It is a long walk back to Thamel, but I would like to explore Nag Pokhari, 'Snake Pond' on my way back. I wave off the motorcycle rickshaw and walk the unpaved road. Cows and cars and pedestrians whirl around me with great purpose. Nag Pokhari hides behind a wrought iron gate and low dusty shrubs. Inside the gate, is what appears to be a large and ancient rectangular stone swimming pool. In the center of this murky green brown pond is a 25 foot post with a beautifully carved copper serpent's head.

A man arrives with some food in a bag and tosses it into the water. Immediately the water begins to churn and boil and splash about as dozens of carp fight over the crumbs. Suddenly, I no longer see a peaceful pond but a writhing horror of insatiable desire. The ravenous carp are the embodiment of the sea of suffering. Each leap from that pond is the symbol of the soul's emancipation...

I have been busy moving boxes from here to there. We are now nearly settled in our new home in Shaker Heights, Ohio, next to Cleveland. Soon, I will be emerging from my current murky pond.



  1. hey butternut! a welcome return!!! i think it's appropriate that i should be the first in the in-box given the title of your posting.
    a beautiful insight.


  2. Butternut: So nice that you are back. I missed you. Thank you for that brief glimpse into a segment of your time away. Love your line about how a peaceful pond becomes a writhing horror of insatiable desire. How often does that happen to a peaceful mind?

    Hope to hear more about your travels. And, my goodness, you moved upon your return? Phew.

  3. Poor carp, all insatiable desire, no reasoning.. May you leap high and bypass Samsara on this new leg of your journey.

  4. hello lady - so glad to read your words again - beautiful as usual - listen, just let me know if you need help unpacking those boxes - i probably have more experience at it than most inhabitants of the planet! best wishes - jenean

  5. gorgeous story, you had my full attention! you took me to another world. wishing you a lovely life in your new home. I clicked on these double fish hoping the click would take me to your store and tell me how much I could buy them for.....

  6. I was thinking the pond sounded a bit scary!
    We fed fish in India -- great seething hair cat fish.
    Ramesh said they were sacred.
    Good luck in your new home!

  7. The pond sounds a little scary. 'm so glad your world is starting to calm down after the move. Glad to have you back.

  8. Steven, you are "The Golden Fish!" Completely synchronistic that you should be the first.

    Bonnie, there is always another travel tale to tell. I wish I had more time to tell them all.

    Lynn, I feel the same way about the carp. It would be my least desired rebirth.

    Gypsy Woman, I would hire you in a second.

    Tammie Lee, The Golden Fish in the image is a little silver charm. I will put some up on eBay for you or any one else who would like to have them and put a link under the image.

    Elizabeth, My son thought the hidden swimming pool sounded great at first but very creepy at the end. Have you ever seen the carp at Pymatuning Lake? Have a look on you tube

  9. Welcome back. Best wishes on the moving of boxes and life. Thanks for the morning visit to Samsara (will check out the carp on U Tube).

  10. Hi Again Tammie, I tried but I couldn't put the link under the image. You can find the Golden fish and other items on eBay at 'The Nepalese bazaar.' There are links to 'The Nepalese Bazaar' and to our main web site 'A World of Good,Inc.' in the right margin under "Try These," and also at the bottom of this page.

  11. Yay! You're back! Can't wait to read about all of your travels.