I am eating so much honey! Sticky sweet spoonfuls. This is NOT a bummer. It’s the only thing that helps my throat, rough from all the pollution. Fifty years ago the Himalayas were visible from here, rising above these plains, only 70-or-so miles away. Now they are hidden in the thick haze. This IS a bummer.

Despite the smog, I enjoy the milky sunshine on the flat brick roof of the Ladies’ block. 81º F, perfect. Laundry waves at me in the breeze. Here I sit, short sleeves and bare legs. if we can hang our undies out to dry up here, away from modest Indian eyes, then my limbs can get some sun exposure, too.

Speaking of laundry. I have really enjoyed hand-washing my clothes. Hot water in a bucket; soap, rinse and wring out the few things I have. It’s a simple, small act, but one that is immediate, necessary, and grounding because of that. It feels very deliberate and matter-of-fact. How dumb, to trip out on such a silly little thing! But indicative of how far removed, how displaced from direct-ness I have become… all is quiet except for the sloosh of water in my bucket. Peaceful. I am happy to concentrate only on the task at hand. And what a nice change, from my confusing, convoluted, overloaded life back home.

Life here is reduced down to the essentials: Eat. Sleep. Laundry. And contemplate what the heck you are doing with your life, otherwise known as meditation. This place gives a rare opportunity to devote time and energy almost exclusively to immaterial pursuits… hopefully with a lighting-bolt reward of complete understanding at the end of your stay.

We shall see about that. Oh, sure.

So here I sit, contemplating my laundry in the sun, and wonder if this is going to work.