December vignettes

Within the gates of the Wat, I find the closest thing I can to silence. I am surrounded by learning, people of all ages actively seeking the attainment of knowledge. The struggles that one faces outside of these walls slip away and become obsolete- the greenery, the sounds of children playing freely, and a nearby monk roughhousing with pagoda dog- all create an atmosphere that gently cradles an haven for learning.

I come here for quiet. Calm. Stillness. For inspiration when I need it, and for a dose of grass on my feet when I choose to listen to the demands of my soul. 

I sit on the porch of the CKS library, facing south. As I lean towards leaving, the sun becoming too strong to bear, and a drop of sweat trickles down my neck, a cloud covers the sun, bringing with it an evanescent hint of a cool breeze, allowing me X more moments of quiet, stillness, calmness. Of green. Until that cloud decides to continue on its path. And when that time comes, I do not fight it, nor do I will the cloud to stay. I merely observe its movement, nonjudgmentally, and close my eyes, preparing for the sun, allowing the circle to continue. Ultimately leaving the final decision of when to move to my next destination, to the conscience of the wind.


On the longest days, I arrive home. Sweaty. Click on the AC, and collapse onto my rock of a bed. And on those same days, I will myself right back up and march outside to my little chair on the second floor porch above The Happy Buffalo. The sun drops lower towards a place I still call home. Trying to absorb the day’s final moments of fleeting sunlight, a world of rush hour is spinning both beneath me and above me.

It is as if there is a glass floor separating the two planes, and I am encased within. Each floor existing without regard for the other. I’m in the middle. It’s a familiar place.

I look up.

Everything falls away except for the sound of my breath, a swarm of dragonflies, and whatever flock of migratory birds happens to have chosen Siem Reap for a resting place that evening.

Afternoon drizzles arrive.


The bottom floor scrambles to remain dry after a long days work. Honks emerge from beneath colorful plastic rain protection.


The top floor has no conscious regard for the rain. Swallows swoop in and out of drops, seemingly unaffected by their encumbrance, praying on their cognitively inferior aerial counterparts, the rain disorients them toward their ultimate demise.

I watch these co-, yet separately-existing societies. I wonder to myself, “does anyone else see?”


2 thoughts on “December vignettes

  1. You are a gifted writer Sydney. My daughter Maggie was in Cambodia as a fellow two years ago. I look so forward to each of your blog entries and always reminisce about the wonderful week I spent with her…
    I feel blessed to read your beautiful words.💗


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