Many times a picture doesn't do reality justice…well, at Wat Opot, it seems to be quite the opposite. Wayne and I chat about how some of the photos we take, just don’t seem real. When you live in beautiful surroundings you take things for granted. Although there is plenty of time to stop and smell the flowers here, I have to consciously take a look at the beauty that surrounds me. Be it the face of a child, our spectacular sunsets, or a lotus flower blooming; being aware of what’s going around directly in front of me, at that moment is what I have to remind myself.
Once when I posted a photo of some of the kids playing with a cart, my sister commented about the bougainvillea bush and it’s gorgeous fuchsia colored flowers in the background; something I didn’t even ‘see’ in the photo. I remember that photo when I look at things now. What do I really ‘see’? We watched the movie, "Avatar" again the other evening and their saying “I see you” which is kind of like “Namaste” in a way; refers to really SEEING what’s in front of you, not just with your eyes but with your heart– made me think about that photo.
The process of not ‘seeing’ works to our advantage occasionally - when we have unexpected visitors to Wat Opot and didn’t have time for the kids to do a quick clean up. I notice every small snack wrapper on the ground; whereas I am sure no one else even notices them. Wayne and I (and whichever volunteer is up early) enjoy many quiet mornings drinking coffee with our breakfast at Channgs Café. The other morning we just sat and had a contemplation (of sorts) about our life at Wat Opot – how we enjoy such beauty (and quietness - when the kids are in school) each morning I used to drive to cafés with outdoor seating in various cities I have lived in to get a small portion of the life I now lead. I never thought about why I drove miles to sit at Austin Java Café or walked a mile to sit at Le Pain Quotidien. I guess I found quiet solitude even if the café was noisy and crowded…
Earlier this year we had some young German volunteers and they helped the kids build boats from water bottles, bamboo, string and material. The boats have been proudly displayed in the craft room for months and finally I gave in to the youngster’s constant urging and let them set the boats afloat on the small pool near Channgs café.
Our photographs sometimes seem surreal; the photograph below is such a one.
When I download the photos of that day a week later, I just stared at them. Is life at Wat Opot really this idyllic? Such simplistic momentary beauty (which consciously passed me by) was captured forever through the lens of my camera.
Here are other photos taken as the youngest Watopotians enjoyed their long awaited morning.
After a while the kids felt the serenity and, subconsciously or not, placed themselves a short distance from each other as they watched the boats float aimlessly about.
Can life really be that simplistic? The answer is yes, at least for moments in time – if you do not become aware; to strive to be in the here and now, they pass you by. It’s never too late to stop and smell the flowers...to watch the boats float...or Wayne mow the grass...