“The Buddha did not deny the existence of suffering, but he also did not deny the existence of joy and happiness. If you think that Buddhism says, “Everything is suffering and we cannot do anything about it,” that is the opposite of the Buddha’s message.”
Thich Nhat Hanh The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching
Lest you think Max and I moped about in paradise being sad sacks the whole time, there was also much joy and happiness. We stayed in an insane bungalow, hidden in the mountains of Kandy by verdant, jungle canopy but also by thick morning fog. I fulfilled what was, until that moment, an un-realized life goal to bath al fresco in a rooftop bathtub enclosed by trees. Sure, I had to watch for critters what might fall from said trees and into my bath, but vigilance was a small price to pay. Later, over a candlelight dinner of spicy curries we took turns watching for snakes slithering from the foliage to join our meal unbidden. Frogs perched in the eves above us and croaked their night song.
We spotted black hooded orioles and a ceylon blue magpie while riding an Elephant, hands resting on his massive ears, and toured tea factories after winding through hills being harvested by Sri Lankan women.
We climbed 1200 steps to the top of a 5th century citadel at Sigiriya and inspected remarkably preserved paintings before exiting through enormous lion paws carved into rock.
|So. Many. Steps.|
|Beautiful frescos - half way up the citadel face.|
But the business of writing about travel is fraught with temptations of vanity and dishonesty. It makes for great facebook updates and crafted high adventure identities based on a few photos, but its author is constantly at risk of boiling complex people and places to one-dimensional objects of consumption existing only for personal pleasure.
I think about this so often I am paralyzed by it.
It felt a bit disingenuous to share only photographs of lush green forests and majestic Elephant baths from our trip to Sri Lanka without placing them in context of Sri Lanka's recent troubles. …but there were incredible creatures swinging from trees above our private bungalow terrace, glorious rain and lightening storms that stretched over the highlands and tea plantations so green and misty that we lost ourselves inside. To ignore the wonder of a place feels just as dishonest as to focus on its grittier aspects.
And the world is too amazing not to share.