We are visiting Esso’s family home. They live in a village which my phone location service tells me is Na Klang – Dong Sawan, in the province of Nong Bua Lam Phu. This is in the region of northeastern Thailand called Isaan (or Isan, to Wikipedia).
Esso’s sister has her wedding celebration at the family home (separate post). The next day, we visit the family farm, about 2 km away.
There’s a rubber-tree grove (about 3 acres to my unpracticed eye), and a field, now empty, where sugar cane was recently harvested. There are ashes on the ground; farmers here burn the stubble after the harvest, the make the ground ready for the next planting–which is why the air is always a bit smoky this time of year. Not just here in Isaan, but all over southeast Asia, from Laos to India.
But the nicest parts are around the edges of the commodity-crop areas. Here by the road, a papaya tree; behind the shed, a pineapple patch; along the river bank, bananas. (If you are clever, you can find both a bunch of nearly-ripe fruit, and a banana flower, in the picture). Also an occasional pear tree and coconut palm.
The atmosphere is much sweeter than I expected, from my experience with American farms. There are no animals, except a few chickens, so no dung. No pesticides (although they use spot applications on fruit trees, when needed) or other chemicals. This gives a great sense of peace. Little stands of bamboo along the stream banks provide shade, erosion control, and a sweet spot to meditate. And when we put our feet in the water, that, too, seems remarkably pure and sweet. Altogether, a deep healing experience.
Healing for me, but even more so for Esso. I see her flourishing with energy as she revitalizes her roots.
As we drive back to the village, I stop to take a picture of a dramatic-looking dead tree. Later, reviewing the photo, I see a little speck above the tree. A bird? No… a dragonfly crossing in front of the camera at just that instant.
(Dragonfly was Tania’s spirit animal. Hi, Tania.)