I am living in a hobbit hole.
Incense floats through the air, filling the slanting sunlight with dusky white clouds. I have to stoop to walk into the tiny bathroom, and I have to stoop to walk out the front door.
The back windows look out on an enchanted garden. It is blooming, green, slanting up and away to the mountains. There are apple trees and wild clover, and I’m sure that a leprechaun family lives there. Perhaps they dwell among all those flowers, or live deep in the roots of the trees.
Joy owns this guesthouse, and he looks more Nepalese than Indian. He wears his shiny black hair in a ponytail, and smiles radiantly every time he sees me. He has painted the cupboards a jaunty yellow, and trimmed the walls in blue. His own simple artwork adorns my walls. One painting shows a red, yellow and green spiral that ends in two serpent heads. The serpent heads are eating each other’s tails. Another painting shows a blooming lotus flower with an enlightened Buddha on top.
Late afternoon is my favorite time here.
Sunlight fills the room, and makes it as warm as it ever becomes. Nights are cold in this mountain town, and often daytime too. So the reliable warmth of late afternoon is welcome and comforting to my body.
Colorful scarves hang from the back of the door, and the chair in the corner is red. It reflects the afternoon sunlight, and somehow matches the honking horns outside.
Two crooked stories down, the street is alive. Indian families eat grilled corn on the cob and hold hands. Schoolboys and schoolgirls shout and frolic in their matching uniforms. Devout couples head for the Shiva temple at the top of the hill. And above and around us, to the North, East, and South, the snow-capped Himalayas look down gently, beckoning braver travelers to their peaks.
But I am happy here, so I flex my feet, point my toes, and type, type away.