Saturday, February 19, 2005

Mekhong River

The river is very low this year. The tips of sandbars that we usually see during April are fully exposed. My neighbors in Wat Meuang Wa village were surprised to see a new island emerge from the river.

One consequence of the low water level was the sinking of a beautiful wooden boat which had been moored near my village. I used to admire this 40 foot long work of art when I took my morning walk. A few days ago, I saw a crowd of peopel sitting on the bank looking towards the boot. During the night, the water must have gone down just enough that the side of the boat lowered on to the sandbar, causing it to flip. It looks very sad, lying half-submerged in the water like a beached whale. They don't make boats like that any more - no one has preserved the skills, it would be too expensive, and the younger generation are either not interested in the river life or they would prefer a sleek fiberglass boat instead.

What I'm thinking about doing is making a series of Mekhong River poems based on this story and the poem I posted earlier this week. A "funeral" for the boat would tie together the poems. Stay tuned.

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