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Seeing. Ten-Years-in-Tibet, 52.4

I just can’t.  I can’t do this. 

Every Sunday morning I get lost in pictures.  I know you understand this phenomenon.  When you start looking and an hour passes and suddenly you realize you have had no idea where you are in the present because you are somewhere lost in the past.  It’s not much for me to confess that I have cried every time I choose a picture for this blog.  “Not much” because I cry for a lot of things.  But I can’t choose just one picture anymore.  It’s not fair to the stories I want to tell in images.  One photo can’t say the same thing as two or three.  Or this time as I give up on choosing a single picture for the week – I am blowing it BIG and adding photos galore.  After all, who made this rule that I can only choose one photo per week?  Yeah, I did.  So I am breaking my own regimen and I’ll probably do it again.  And again.  And this man, “aYungBum Tsereng” is the perfect one for whom to do it.  

I could share a hundred pictures we made from visits with him through the years.  He lived about an hour and a half drive from our countryside home, up a valley where suddenly the road disappears and you can see for a hundred kilometers through the distance.  In these grasslands his hovel of a house appears on a hill.  He was going blind when we met him in 2007.  By the time I took the first three photos, shadows had disappeared into blackness.   I like how Mark is first showing David how it would feel for someone to see his face with hands as a preparation and permission for someone to touch him.  This is unconscious for Mark, I am sure.  But that’s the kind of man he is – not being aware of his own goodness.  It’s not “intentional.”  It’s just who he is, not even knowing.

AYungBum Tsereng may have remembered the other-worldly look of our family from our first year of becoming friends, so I like to imagine his “remembering” as he touches David’s face.  Notice sheer delight in seeing David’s face with hands.  

In that photo I am jealous of the man.  He doesn’t see color and wouldn’t know we were foreigners if not for the memory (and our funny accents speaking their beautiful language).  I am jealous of him because- truth be told- I often want to touch people’s faces but I know it’s not socially appropriate.  I want to touch strangers’ shoulders while sitting behind them in the pews at church but I (usually) restrain myself.  AYungBum Tsereng is allowed to touch.  But I am not jealous of him for the tragedy that befell his family.  His son had committed suicide many years before we met and his daughter who is my age was severely depressed.  Her daughter is Scottie’s age and was, in many ways, caring for the family (she was six years old when we met them).  Later their house partially collapsed and a government issued tent was set up nearby.  

One time, in a saga too-long-for-blog, involving numbers of yaks and grazing land,  aYungBum Tsereng lied to Mark and me.  Big.  When the lie was uncovered he did not apologize.  But can you tell from my fascination with his smile and every wrinkle in his face that we never stopped loving him?  Never even loved him less.  I have the last picture framed on our wall in the kitchen.  At Christmastime my young nephew “Nicholson” asked if the guy was one of our relatives.  I answered, “Yes.”  Because that’s how close I feel to him.

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Comments

  1. Re: An Eye-Opening Comparison

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  2. Re: NOMAD Farms Chicken has a New Look

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  3. Re: An Eye-Opening Comparison

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