Over in the fallow field, near the newly sprouted rice, I see a solitary tethered mature aged buffalo cow. She is some distance from me, though when I observe her through the 400mm lens on my Canon I can see she is not alone but engaged in an intimate act with a Common Myna bird.
As I watch, voyeuristically, the bird dances down from its perch on the bony crest between the cow's horns to the tip of her muzzle; her eyes pinch shut from the ecstasy of sensations as the bird reaches into the cow's nostril and satisfies its thirst, but she makes no attempt to shake it off.
It’s strangely thrilling to watch this act. I begin to think about the relationship of these two unlikely companions, and wonder if there is something akin to affection, perhaps even love, between them.
She weighs 800kilograms while he is barely 60 grams; she has fur…he feathers; she bawls…he screeches; she's captive…he's as free as a…well…bird…
You get the message…they seem to have so many contextual challenges! Yet, I sense something bonds each to the other. I witness performance of routine and random acts of kindness between two individuals and believe this has to fit the definition of, at least, affection. There's a comfortable sense of trust and familiarity between the two, and I imagine the evening conversation:
Micky: Well, I'm off to roost in that tree over there but, in the morning, I'll be back to clean the ticks out of your right ear.
Clara: Tomorrow I'll make sure we get a grassy spot where I can scare a few hoppers and grubs out for your lunch…Bye Bye.
My situation is not so different. After a lifecycle in Australia I have relocated to Thailand on my own, and have embarked on a second lifecycle. I have a companion who presents our relationship with many challenges…age difference of 30 years; I have no religion while She is deeply Buddhist; culturally, I am Australian larrikan while She is traditional Eastern; I speak English while the English I have taught Her is merely her 3rd language; I have "education" while She is self-taught; I am constantly curious about all things while She is accepting of all things but curious about few...
But…it works! We have a home. We laugh and romp and have fun. We have a common "project" aka "child", who challenges, delights and frustrates in approximately equal measure. We have shared plans and aspirations.
Do we have love? I don't know…but, we certainly have affection, and it seems to grow and multiply through the routine and random acts of kindness that we constantly seek to perform for each other.
Perhaps my gradual conversion to Eastern thinking is allowing me to see the importance of little things, or perhaps it has more to do with the luxury I have in being able to fit two lifecycles into my one Life and to carry lessons from the first into the second.
I feel we are a bit like the buffalo and the bird, and Life is good!
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Our very special guest today is Ray Storey, an Australian now living his second lifetime in Bangkok, Thailand. You can find him over at Thaivillage where you can really get your education on everything Thai. Thank you, Ray, for joining us today at V&V.