Tales from Thailand 2020 #3

Greetings, dear readers.

Hats. We all wear so many in these complicated times, huh?

As the relentless dust and heat bore down, over six days of pickaxing holes in the dry rocky ground at SDS 2… I grew to love my Issan farmer’s hat. It became incredibly familiar and comforting as well. This is a strange disclosure for a “nudist Buddhist,” as I’ve often described myself.

My sweet friend Maechee Wontawon is on the left (above photo). She’s been here at SDS 2 since its beginning eighteen months ago, and is the sole remaining founding resident. She was formerly a shop-owner and hat designer. She has found her future here at SDS/2, she says.

Conditions here are slightly difficult:

  • Not a lot of nurturing food is yielded from alms’ rounds in the closest Karen village – mostly white rice.
  • Temperatures are chilly at night and broiling by day
  • Most maichees come from urban settings in the business
    world. As it turns out, putting a farm implement in their
    hands does not necessarily make them strong and happy

Maechee Sansanee/Khunmae visits every week for a day, bringing her special light, and enthusiasm, happily making plans with architects and artists to develop this Valley of the Bodhissatva, as she calls it. She has plans to install a huge Green Tara on the hilltop, an extension bridge, a ferro-cement waterfall…

Honestly, I’ve been discouraged to see the amount of clearcutting taking place all around me, as guys with big dozers forever plow up the mountainsides, in their search for water or more croplands. The original flora is being lost, its animals confused and wandering. No one seems to grasp the necessity of regenerating the soil before trying to plant hundreds of trees…

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