On the banks of the Chindwin River deep in Myanmar, I watch mysteries glide through the gossamer curtain fringed with the dew beads of early morning and wonder if this is how it feels to be inside a snow globe.

The landscape swirls with every strong puff of wind or when sunlight splinters through the heavy gray blanket swaddling the shores. Myanmar’s magic lies somewhere in the mist. Wait long enough, and you can find it as muted colors seep through the gauzy mornings and hazed-hued evenings.

The light falls softly on the shoulders of the hard-working villagers who rise early to work the fields and fish the river. Their ghostly shadows weave through the vapor and leave you guessing for a few moments of whether it is man or woman or daughter or son. Will kindness or annoyance emerge from the local people as the visitors irritate the work cattle with the click, click, click of cameras?

Work crew

Morning drive

When our boat sliced through the white layers to go ashore one morning, we watched families gather reeds bundled and sold for mats.

Inside a hut, a woman cooked fish over a fire that twirled a smoke trail out the door. I watched it drift toward the river and blend into the fog hovering over the boat awaiting to take us away.

We’d carry a remnant of these strangers with us on our journey.

If you’re lucky, you always do.

The Mattmakers

Reed weaver

Everyone appreciates a sunny sky.

Sometimes, it is a wild gray yonder that sweeps your breath away.

Travel teaches you to go with the flow and the weather and the sky.

Like the soothing Thanaka paste buttered on the faces of its people, Myanmar’s beauty glistens through it ethereal mask.

 

Dewkissed morning

Mustard, please

Crossing over

Neutral density

Lilac morning

Travelers

Happy family

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meet me: Sheilah Bright, a sucker for a story. I've been a journalist for 39 years after first publishing at age 14. Do the math. No, don't. My work has appeared in hundreds of newspapers and magazines. I spent 18 years writing advertising for People and TIME magazine. When I'm not traveling abroad, I bounce along the backroads of Oklahoma searching for some golden story nuggets as a contributing editor for This Land Press and Oklahoma Today.

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