On The Yukon (OTY) / On The Ayeyarwady (OTA) – 18

OTY: You could catch the scent in the air before coming around the bend and passing by the cliffs. Not a pungent smell, just rich from a dense mulch of decaying matter. As we passed below the cliff face, breathing the air felt like a brief transport to a time 10,000 years ago. The University of Alaska controlled access to the site that held old mammoth bones. Trophy hunters made occasional raids to the site but it was dangerous accessing by small craft. If the cliff sloughed off, the minor tidal wave could take out a little boat. A high price to pay for a chunk of yellowed ivory.

OTA: The carved images of Buddha rested in the side of the cliff. From their individual niches they gazed out on the massive flowing river as if peacefully contemplating the passing of time. We were more than a speck on that river. Our wake washed up on the cliff face. Did we erode their foundation? Our skepticism cast doubt on their intent. When the cliff face sloughed off, the icons would settle to sediment and drift to the Andaman Sea as debris. Who was in danger when the images deteriorated with exposure? Scrutiny of sincerity was inevitable.

About Whittoons

Cartoonist, and community organizer who has covered the globe as a doodlebugger, gandydancer, supernumerary steward, Able Bodied Seaman, Wireman, monkey man, Night Baker and dishwasher, Hobo, hitchhiker and husband.
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