Saturday, December 24, 2016

From the Heart of the Mountains:

He asked me: if I were to recall one key moment or experience from our trip, what would that be.

It was early morning and we were sitting beside the Trisuli River; the clouds hung low over the mountains and there was a sharp chill in the morning air. Being in the heart of the Himalayas and captivated by its power yet again, could I really think of just one moment or experience?

Lying in the sun after a sumptuous breakfast, on the upper deck of a local eating place situated on the far side of the lake at Pokhara, our conversation turned slow and warm, just like the autumn day there. The sky above the hills to the north was filled with para-gliders, who came down one by one soaring over the lake, dipping and catching the current again, whoops of joy filling up the silent, lazy air. The sun shone behind them creating tiny halos as they glided past. The vast lake sparkled like million diamonds.

The long enchanting trek through the forest of ancient, gnarled immense trees covered with moss and ferns. The silence was calming and meditative; our voices seemed too loud and harsh. The forest was dense and dark in parts and when the sun filtered in through the gaps, the light amongst the trees was magical.  

As we climbed up the ridge, the snow peaks of the Annapurna range opened up before us. It was a brilliantly clear morning with cloudless cerulean sky, cold breeze and a bright sun warming our backs. We stood for a while there, listening. Over the sound of the wind, we could hear the murmurs of the river flowing deep below.

The many conversations we had over millet chang at a local joint in Pokhara, the childlike fights over trust and control, the warm fuzzy high, and huddling close as we walked the long way back to our lodge late at night.

A day spent just lying among the overgrown grass in the local park with dragonflies and butterflies fluttering around, and gazing at the blue sky and the leaves of the trees as they danced with the wind. The surrounding mountains, warm golden sun, distant sound of people passing by, and no soul to disturb you, it was a day that required no conversations.

Sitting by the riverside on a cold night under a star-filled sky, smoking up joints that kept us warm, and having even warmer conversations about life and future.  As the night stretched, the bond between us got stronger.  

The dreamlike Diwali night at Patan Durbar Square where history merged with the present, age-old traditions blended with the enthusiasm of the youth; that moment when he held me tightly, protectively, as masked dancers passed by blowing fire in the air.

These were some of the moments where I felt that time had stood still, where I wanted time to stretch forever. Because somewhere in all those moments, I was reminded once again of the true essence of friendship, trust, warmth, and caring – the meanings of which I had somehow lost in the cities. I was reminded once again of letting go and being free. 

And somewhere in all those moments, I finally understood love.