Lost Horizon

by Wolf Pascoe on April 27, 2011

You have to look around in the least suspected places.
— Nicholas Pascoe. Advice to a friend before the Easter egg hunt.

Do you know the story of Lost Horizon?

A party of travelers, led by a man named Conway, is flown by a mysterious pilot into the remote Tibetan highlands. They become stranded when the plane crash lands. Apparently by sheer luck, they stumble on a hidden valley, an arcadia sheltered from the cold and wind of the mountain peaks.

In the valley lies a magnificent lamasery, like nothing they’ve ever seen. It’s name is Shangri La. The place they’ve arrived at is an earthly paradise, an Eden of simplicity, beauty, and harmony. An island refuge in a war-torn age, it’s existence is unknown and unsuspected by the outside world.

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Lost Horizon Easter egg hunt

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The party becomes enchanted with the valley, whose inhabitants apparently do not age, and whose every needs are taken care of. They decide to stay. The high lama takes Conway under wing and reveals to him the secrets of the lamasery.

Lost Horizon egg gathering

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Conway meets a beautiful young woman and falls in love with her. He wants nothing more than to live in the peace and tranquility of the valley. But he has to leave. He makes his way back to civilization, nearly dying on the journey through the ice and snow.

When he recovers, he knows he must return to Shangri La. But this time he has no guide—he must find the place himself.

He sets out alone. No one knows if he makes it back.

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Has that ever happened to you?

Through no fault of your own, you stumble on something beautiful and rare, but it’s temporary. The moment doesn’t last and you have to leave. You try to find your way back, but now it’s impossible. You find that the very thing which was freely yours by accident (call it grace) is unobtainable through effort.

Hold on tightly, let go lightly.

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This happened to me last Sunday.

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Easter at the Wright’s, April 24.

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. . .

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YOU MIGHT ALSO ENJOY:

Shangri-La: A Travel Guide to the Himalayan Dream

And of course:

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.

. . .

EXPRESS YOURSELF!

Ever been to Shangri-La? I encourage, invite, bestir, and exhort you to add your comment below. I always respond here.

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

BigLittleWolf April 27, 2011 at 11:54 am

Hold on tightly, let go lightly.

Well, yes, and no. With parenting, we reach a point where we must hold on lightly and let go – gracefully.

Lovely piece, Wolf.

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Wolf Pascoe April 27, 2011 at 1:19 pm

Yeah, but that doesn’t rhyme.

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Barbara S. April 27, 2011 at 5:29 pm

Looks like such a great time! I think there have been fabulous weekends in my life where everything just falls into place, but when you return, hoping to recreate that perfect weekend, it rains, or the food at that great restaurant is awful or something – but at least you have those memories!

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Wolf Pascoe April 27, 2011 at 5:32 pm

Row, row, row your boat
Gently down the stream.
Merrily, merrily, merrily …

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Barbara Beckley April 27, 2011 at 6:46 pm

Really lovely piece, Wolf. Thanks.

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Wolf Pascoe April 28, 2011 at 12:46 pm

Thanks, Barbara. Glad you dropped by.

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Charles Bernstein April 28, 2011 at 2:42 am

Maybe part of the mystery and elusiveness of Shangri La is that sometime we think that it’s a place, when it’s actually a time. Beautiful and touching piece, Wolf.

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Wolf Pascoe April 28, 2011 at 12:47 pm

That would account for not being able to get back there. Without a time machine.

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Alameda April 30, 2011 at 9:46 pm

I know very bright man, a physician, a renaissance man. Unfortunately for him, he lost his eldest son to cancer. This son was air force pilot on his way to becoming one of the early astronauts. After the loss (almost 25 years now), every time he encounters a joyful experience- a music he loves (he turns it mid way as he cannot relive the experience of ….an ending), when in a gathering or a concert he enjoys, he leaves midway. He decides the end rather than the other way around!

At the ….. end, in the peaks and valleys of life (mostly valleys) it is those beautiful memories we like to revisit but can only do mentally !

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Wolf Pascoe May 1, 2011 at 9:21 am

This is something I have been thinking–that we need a measure of control in order to bear the unbearable. Thanks, Alameda.

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lorithatcher January 30, 2012 at 9:00 pm

I actually did stumble on a place. Not quite like in Lost Horizon because it was not peopled. But it was so…….

http://lorithatcher.wordpress.com/2011/12/02/the-forest/

hope this link works.

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Wolf Pascoe February 1, 2012 at 12:19 am

I love your story, Lori. You’d almost think there was something in the psyche programmed to let us go to a particularly magical place only once . . .

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