Friday, May 04, 2007

‘Lost Horizon’ Versus ‘Camelot’ — #5: Shangri-La

Can I accept what I see around me?
Have I found Shangri-La or has it found me?
Would I go back
If I knew how to go back?
Will I find there really is
Such a thing as peace of mind
And what I thought was living
Was truly just confusion
The chance to live forever
Is really no illusion
And this can all be mine?
Why can’t I make myself believe it?

on finding himself in Shangri-La

When I was a teenager, a writing class I attended was given an assignment with only one direction: We were to write about a moment when we’d been truly happy, some moment we experienced when the whole world around us seemed perfect.

We worked alone and didn’t discuss our work until we read our writing aloud to the class.

I wrote about a time I’d spent the afternoon at our local park with a friend named Maryjo. We’d held hands and walked around the small lagoon and just talked.

A friend of mine wrote about a time she’d spent the afternoon tending to her backyard garden with her young niece.

Another friend of mine wrote about his summer vacation. He’d spent a month in Kathmandu, hiking the foothills of Mount Everest.

When the whole class had read their works, the teacher checked his notes, then pointed out that although we were all city kids, each of us had written a scene that in some way involved getting back to nature. Whether it was in Asia or a neighborhood park or a backyard garden, all of us had written about what’s called the ‘natural world.’ None of us had written about a trip downtown or to the corner store or an adventure in a car or any other purely urban experience.

I remember being shocked because not only had I not expected any similarities in our work, but I hadn’t even noticed the trend listening to everyone read what they’d written.

Maybe we’d written nature scenes because we were all city kids. Maybe a class of young writers from a rural school would have written about trips to the city or a mall or the local factory.

Or maybe there is something deep within us that recognizes that the world under construction around us isn’t the world human beings were made to inhabit.

Friendly doors
Open wide
Come and share the peaceful life
You will find inside
Share the joy

Let the sun
Comfort you
It will keep you safe and warm
Always shining through
Share the joy

All the lovely songs you will hear
These we all hold dear
At the same time
All the grandest things
We possess
These we value less

So many small things
Can bring happiness
Love is in all things

Flowers bloom
People grow
You may never want to leave
When it’s time to go
Share the joy

Mountains rise
Mountains fall
You have nothing more to prove
You have climbed them all

Now you’re here
May you stay
Share the joy

Now you’re here
May you stay
Share the joy

People Of Shangri-La

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