The Long Way Home

Srinagar, Very Northern India, 2006
After a grungy, loose screws on the wheels, it’ll-make-your-fillings-fall-out bumpy 25 hour bus ride, we’ve been dropped off amongst the beauty, wonder, and awe of the Himalayas in a Muslim town where some look at us with curiosity and others simply look at us like they want to kill us. We are surrounded by a huge military presence, staying on a houseboat where we are being held prisoner by none other than ourselves. The view from the front of the boat is friendly; a beautiful lake I would have considered swimming in had I not recognized the dead duck, the floating condom, or the pipe that connects the lake directly to our toilet. Nonetheless, beautiful to look, not touch. Beautiful reflections, beautiful canoes, beautiful trees, mountains, and air. So we’re dealing with it the same way you ought to deal with every situation – taking the good with the bad, the beauty with the ugly, the high with the low or what have you, and we’re making the best of it. Taking the time to enjoy nothing more than time itself. The sound of oars meeting the water, of cows mooing, of Muslims chanting from seemingly far away places, of birds chirping and ducks paddling, and the sound of footsteps stomping down our wooden hallway bring breakfast, lunch, and dinner… all harmoniously combine to make our “prison” stay not so dreadful after all.

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