It was sunny when you left home, so you didn’t take an umbrella. An hour later, you’re caught in a torrential downpour. You run into the first store you can find — it happens to be a dark, slightly shabby antique store, full of old artifacts, books, and dust. The shop’s ancient proprietor walks out of the back room to greet you. Tell us what happens next!
I find myself standing in an antique store inspired by the orient. The light is dim, so I am squinting. Light comes in through the dusty windows in soft smudges, filled with dust motes. There are thankas of all descriptions, exquisitely painted, depicting various scenes. There is dark furniture from Bali, Tibetan and Thai artifacts, parchment scrolls containing almost lost secrets, only there by the grace of care. I detect the scent of wood and polish, Tibetan incense burning and smoking from a small bowl, woody, slightly sweet, blessed in the making. I am transported to Chiang Mai, where I visited a similar shop, filled with exotic objects. I go forward smiling at the proprietor, extending my hand to his, soft as tissue in the shaking. A water droplet rolls off my nose and onto his hand, he looks into my eyes and smiles. Suddenly I feel less ordinary, less solid, less certain somehow. I remember Songkran, water strewn streets and sodden clothes, happy faces everywhere, the hope of a new beginning.
I notice a beautiful hill tribe embroidered jacket and ask if I can try it on. It fits, immediately I buy it. The colour and the embroidery is just beautiful, on a black velvet background. I also buy the delicate and vintage Green Tara Thanka, beautifully painted. I know there will be times when I ask for her protection. I thank the proprietor as he hands me a scented paper bag. I wish him well. He looks at me, deep into my eyes in a lingering moment and seems to transmit a sense of peace. Today I think back to this moment and think of the jacket, now packed into a box, sitting in a storage unit. I look forward to it once more hanging on a wall and decorating my back. Here’s to the promise of new beginnings and the beauty of exotic things.
See some jackets here on Eatsy
Image Green Tara Rubin Museum of Fine Art and at this Wikimedia Link
Songkran image Wikimedia Commons Share Alike