Monday, 9 January 2012

Another moon

The moon tonight rose a huge, vibrant orange, like a harvest moon. We all rushed out with our iphones and cameras trying to capture it. The picture can't really capture it, but at least it can remind you: I was there, smoke hung in the air, dogs were howling, the breeze was warm. The nights here are magical, but so are the days. When the sun goes down, the mosquitoes come out. But it's nothing like I expected when I was warned to bring my Deet repellent. I have lived in Winnipeg. I've camped in the Whiteshell. I pictured clouds of them, so that we'd have to retreat to the safety of our rooms. There are a few buzzing around, and by 7 o'clock they're mostly gone. Still, I'm taking my Malarone malaria medication, because my doctor told me to and everyone seems to think it's best to. I've had no ill effects from it.

We were talking earlier about whether it's the right word to call the accommodations here "spartan." For me that word has positive associations. I think I may have been a monk in another life. Sometimes the word is used ironically, but not in this case. We have everything we need, including beauty: a simple built-in stone desk facing the window, a lovely wooden bed with a futon type mattress and beautiful cotton bedding, a bedside lamp, an emergency backup lamp for when the power goes out and a bathroom with hot water twice a day, once at  about 10 a.m. and again at about 5 p.m. Something about waiting for the water, looking out the window to see if the fire under the heater has been stoked yet, makes it seem like such a luxury.
the all-important water heater
 We also each have a framed photograph in our room of the two principle dancers, Shurupa and Bijoyni. They have been at Nrityagram for about 20 years, since the school was first established. I can't remember the name of the photographer right now.

The architect who designed this building lives in a cottage just a few metres across from us. He joined us for dinner last night. I think it must be gratifying to see your building at work, kind of like catching someone with her head buried in the book you've written. I've been thinking a lot about structure, as I always do especially when starting a novel. I have two main threads of narrative going in this one, but one is the main story. The tricky thing is how to find the right balance between making the secondary story compelling but not having it overshadow the main one. Right now I'm finding that I'm drawn to one thread and totally immersed in that world and leave it only reluctantly.

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