Friday, October 29, 2010

In Country at VSC

I’m spending this month at Vermont Studio Center, which is a retreat for artists and writers. It is in Johnson, Vermont, which is the smallest town I’ve ever spend time in with the exception of my mother’s hometown in south Georgia. There is a coffee shop here and a small college.

There are about thirty residents here and another ten or so who staff the facility. In the Burlington airport waiting for the van to pick me up, I met one of the residents. His name was Potchara and he was from Thailand. He spoke no English and communicated by looking up words in his English/Thai dictionary. It was his first time in a plane, the first time out of Thailand. I so wanted to know he found his way to VSC. This much I know. He missed his first connecting flight from Newark to Burlington and slept on the floor of the airport. He mimed that much to me.

As a gesture of friendship, he gave me a small vial of Thai herbs that smelled like menthol and oranges. It cleared my sinuses. In his backpack, he had tens of these vials. I still don’t know how he managed to get from Newark to Burlington. He is a sculpture. I don’t know how he’ll get his sculptures back to Thailand.

As I was writing this, I typed his name into Google. Images of some of his art is online and it is beautiful. Potchara may not speak English but his sculptures don’t need the language. Too many people speak English anyway.

I am going to learn at least a few words in Thai.

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