Saturday, August 23, 2008

Simple Man

I saw the end of a rainbow, today, sitting Southwest of Chiang Rai, Thailand. There was no leprechaun and no pot of gold; only a lush green field lying at the feet of majestic mountains to the West. Now that I think about it, maybe the leprechaun was camouflaged against the greenery and the gold is in the earth below. Should that be true, somewhere in the outskirts of Chiang Rai is one lucky man sitting on a fortune; though, his meager lifestyle would make one believe he is anything but lucky.

His bed is the bamboo floor of a thatch-roof hut. The frequency of his showers is determined by weather patterns of each season. The calluses on his hands have calluses of their own, an inevitable result of his sixty years on the farm. Since the age of eight, when he first stepped into the fields, up to now, the dirt on his clothes has never seemed to fade. How could it when each day's labor is tended to with the entirety of his wardrobe? When he smiles, it is hard to distinguish between the dark gaps where teeth are missing and the dirt-covered, cavity-filled teeth that somehow still fulfill their role of breaking down his daily serving of rice, bread and the occasional piece of fruit.

Yes, this humble man, like many of those I have met along the way, still smiles. There is no questioning why years and years of hardships were laid on his plate instead of juicy steaks and fries. He does not ask why survival is solely dependant on his own will to fight. The simplistic story of his life has bred the philosophy that "that is just how things are." What rationale has he to frown when his viewpoint of life stands true in his eyes? He has it figured out. He is happy.

Like I said, somewhere in the outskirts of Chiang Rai is one lucky man sitting on a fortune. I hope he never finds that fortune; it is not the root of his luck and happiness.

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