There are 2 Sinhalese monks living in some caves above the hut where I'm Staying -- actually the hut of Ñānajivako, the Yugoslav, who, you may recall, took his higher ordination at the same time I did. He's gone to Nuwara Eliya (the 'summer resort' town of Ceylon, high in the hills) for December -- what a time to go! Do Floridians go to Maine for December?
Outside his hut is all in flower-bright orange spots, pale purple spheres, dark purple ovals, a kind of flower which, although a very simple 4-sided monochrome, comes in clusters, and each flower is a different color. The whole scene, in short, is romantic as hell, but also pleasantly simple. I go down the hill in the morning and, after walking along one of the rice paddy field dikes, I wander along the footpaths of the village, away from the asphalt street, from house to house, collecting my alms -- beneath coconut trees (which are very cool) and close to the rubber trees (all austerely leaning in the same direction, with mottled trunk and sparce leaves -- not at all cool).
Ñānasiha has a mud hut about half way up the hill, or mountain, very solitary and quiet and a lung-clearing climb, which he has largely built himself -- a fine job. A paste made out of the dirt of termite hills makes an excellent plaster for the walls; mud-and-wattle floor, roof of woven coconut fronds.
I sure wish I could accept your pessimistic evaluation of the possibility of doing anything to alter some unfortunate facts, for then I could sit back and say, “There's no use my trying to achieve anything of real value, because it can't be done.” Unfortunately I'm not able to have the necessary confidence that there's nothing I can do about it (the 'it' refers to whatever you please), so I'm not able to sit back.
Soon, soon will this body
lie stretched upon the earth
like a useless stick of wood.