Tuesday, November 12, 2013


First I feel a pinch from a icy breeze. The hair on my arms rises and my nose tingles. A subdued shiver squeezes up my sides and then is released at my shoulders. I smell burning juniper dancing in from the slats in the broken glass windows. The smell is dark, makes me want to fall asleep again. I curl up tighter into my sleeping bag. 

A deep voice travels to my ears. It comes in waves, louder and softer, deeper and higher. Chanting. The monk next door is chanting. He does this often, chants for a whole day without stopping. I sink into the bottomless voice as it embraces me. Mixed with the cool air, the voice feels warm. 

Suddenly a clatter interrupts the peace. A child's voice mixed with the voice of a few women. They are yelling, but I hear laughter in their voices. Then I hear the clatter of rocks tumbling followed by the ruckus of hooves across the stonework. With this noise I can tell a yak was in the potato field, and the women had chased him right through the wall outlining the field. Luckily these walls are made just so they can be put up and taken down easily. The laughter of the women and squeal of the child assures me that they are all in good spirits. I smile listening to them talk in a language I don't understand but with emotion that I comprehend perfectly. 

Mixing with the woody smell of the juniper is the smell of eggs being burnt over the fire in the house over. From my little makeshift bed of tables and blankets, I know they are making eggs and rice for their kids before they go to school. The mother is squatting by the fire, blowing on it occasionally, while she blends the eggs and listens to the pressure cooker on the gas stove. The kids are playing in the house, but run outside when their grandmother has had enough. Their little, mischievous whispers glide through the mist, up and around me. 

I curl into the feathers of my sleeping bag. In a minute I will have to wake up, address the cold and walk down the rocky path. But first I'll make my milk tea. I can taste it now. I can feel the heat bite my tongue and the hot steam warm my face. I can see the powdered milk exploding into a plume in the tea, and I already taste the extra remnants of the sugar sneakily hiding at the end of the experience. Yes, I'll stay here for a few more minutes, then I'll go make my tea. 

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