All posts tagged: Mopti

on abundance

There are times when absence marks you, when it feels like a great black hole you’ve tipped into. There are times when the lack of something in your life overwhelms. It can be anything–a lack of money or appreciation, or material goods or confidence, time or love or a loved one. You know it’s absurd to seize upon this absence, maybe even obsess over it, when the universe provides as much as it does. But there it is: you’ve got a gaping hole, and it consumes you. The other day I was talking with a friend about desire, and he posited that you can’t desire something you already have; having and desiring are mutually exclusive. So desire is not a great basis for relationships, since it vanishes once the relationship is attained. I’d include our relationships with ourselves in that calculation; desire keeps you yearning and striving, but never satisfied, and never present. Sure, desire can motivate achievements, but as someone perennially affected by Grass Is Always Greener Syndrome, I wanted to brainstorm some alternatives. What can replace it? What …

on balance

When extremes feel de rigueur, it’s a challenge to stay balanced. I want to walk life’s tightrope with confidence, as if it were a line painted on solid ground, but so often my thoughts – concerns, projections, expectations, memories – pull me in one direction, and then another, until my feet dance to the rhythms of my mind and they barely touch the ground. Yes and no, fear and courage, action and inaction, energy and exhaustion, pushing and pulling, intention and submission, giving and receiving, accepting and rejecting… But then, the extremes also feel natural, in a way that is wholly me, for better or worse. I wonder whether it’s the tension between them that keeps me upright–if not for that tension, Perhaps i’d have no momentum. Perhaps it’s the swing of the pendulum that keeps the clock ticking. It’s a bit frightening, as stillness of the mind is my ideal. But maybe i seek an unnecessary, false perfection. Perhaps movement is innate and, judgement aside, it can blossom into something steady, a thing to be counted …

on heading eastward

In an effort to avoid another lonely Christmas in Bamako, I headed eastward. First to Mopti, an island among floodplains sprouted with rice and replete with boats, fishermen, birds, and beautiful Sudo-Sahelian (Sudo like Sudanese) architecture, with a mosque to rival the best. On to Bandiagara, gateway to Dogon country, for an escaped Christmas Eve. 65 kilometers by moto on a mostly deserted-road [we did spot a camel!], but quick as a whistle if you ask me. We toured the town on foot, had our fair share of Castel beer, and I thanked the stars as often as possible for sticking with me through thick and thin, but mostly thin.   Bandiagara and the villages around it feature truly stunning stone architecture, a distinct departure from the mud brick and adobe that defines so much of Malian homes and other buildings. it’s unexpected, and distinguished, and I daresay downright magical. For a final excursion, we headed to Djenné, old trans-Saharan trade partners with Timbuktu, and accessible by ferry most of the year round – a ferry piled with …