In the village was a Sala by the edge of the river Ping. Salas to me are a wonderful piece of architecture symbolising openness, hospitality to strangers, simplicity and the inter-connectedness of life. As a child I spent many lazy days in the Sala watching dragonflies skim the muddy brown water. On one of those days I was joined by Grandpa Miang. We sat there in comfortable silence. All of a sudden a dragonfly flew into the Sala and seemed to rest for what felt like an infinity at the time.
“A sign,” Grandpa Miang said.
I wasn’t sure that I believed in signs but nevertheless I respected Grandpa Miang.
And that moment stayed with me through hard times when I was trying to adapt to life in the UK. Years later I came across a poem by an English poet which seemed to illuminate that moment all those years later.
You hail from Dream-land, Dragon-fly?
A stranger hither? So am I,
And (sooth to say) I wonder why
We either of us came!
– – – Agnes M.F.R. Darmesteter “To a Dragon-fly”