My dad, Moy (his girlfriend), and I drove out of Hua Hin, down a road windier then you can imagine, to the edge Thailand. At the Burma border, the jungle is so thick and green and deep, that you can imagine Indiana Jones dodging booby traps left and right in order to find a hidden temple, filled with golden Buddha idols (but only the Indiana Jones from Raiders, Temple, or Last Crusade - I like to pretend that there’s a world where the last movie just didn’t happen).
Light tangles through the branches and bamboo that hang down over the path, and you can almost see the heat, seeming to come not from the sun, but from the earth, warm and alive.
“Are there snakes here?” I asked Moy. “Yes, there snakes, they big, be careful,” she answered, in her Thaiglish. As soon as she said that, I began to question every branch and vine, every leaf (one of many things that Indiana Jones and I have in common is that we hate snakes). As I started to tell Moy about my intense fear of snakes, she said “you no talk snake, snake come if you talk.” And, as if talking or thinking about snakes were an invocation of them, a perfect green snake crossed the path ahead of us.
It wasn’t so bad.
I made my way ahead of my dad and Moy, who didn’t want to finish the trek to the waterfall that involved hanging on to thick rope and walking a very thin path. As their voices went soft, tangled in the thick branches, I began to think about what Moy said: “snake come if you talk.” I thought about how that idea seemed like the opposite in life. I have a tendency to worry about things, to plan things, to be anxious about things and this, in effect, keeps things from happening. Or, if what I want to happen, does happen, all that worrying makes it somehow less fulfilling. When I let go of what I think my life should look like, things are always infinitely more beautiful because I can just appreciate life for what it is. I realize that this is basic stuff, but it’s something I am still learning and continue to learn.
After the waterfall, as we made our way back down the snake shaped road, I thought about a lot of things. I thought about Indiana Jones, and snakes, and Emily Dickinson, and Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, and thin paths, and thick rope, and holding on. And then I thought:
Life is in the letting go.
(sorry if you thought this was going to be a spooky post about snakes - you should know better)
- Boyfriend: So, I'm not gay or anything, but I could watch Ryan Reynolds chop wood all day...
- Brian: Yeah...pretty much.