Stream and Home

Sunday, October 21, 2018 at 21:36 (UTC+0530)

There's that brown stream behind the gym where, on weekday mornings, I finish one circuit of lifting sets of weights and, panting, walk out on the balcony with my plastic water bottle to cool down.  There are people using this brown stream for bathing, and for washing clothes, beating them, slap, slap, against the rocks, then rubbing them with a soap bar until they lather.  One day I heard incredible splashes and several of the workout lads went to the window with me to see.  A man with a machete was high among the fronds of a king coconut palm well above our heads (and we are on the third story).  He cut a large orange coconut loose and it hurtled down to splash in the stream.  A young boy stood bare legged just downstream and fished out the coconut as it floated by, then pitched it, rugby style, over to the muddy bank.

Back home I sit down at my desk and enter another world, picking music to stream from Spotify to my blue tooth speaker, then reading the news from the other places on the planet, then logging in to my servers to work on the blog and the next project: digitizing all the pocket notebooks I have carried since high school.  I'm building a personal database of photos and writings.  These notebooks have made a one-way trip to Sri Lanka: after photographing every page, I will ceremoniously burn them on a pyre, perhaps with a neighborhood dog looking on.

The rain came in strong on Saturday and our roof began leaking in several places.  We put out buckets and basins to catch the plopping drops.  In addition to that, some animal has begun to tunnel into our roof where it meets the hillside, and clods of earth are falling through a gap in the ceiling next to the back door.  I suppose the downpour has got all the animals on the run: ants have begun appearing indoors again, and the rat is back, briefly seen shooting behind the ugly cabinets in the tea room.  I baited my blue mesh rat trap with a morsel of precious Tillamook cheese, but in the morning I found it untouched.

On Sunday the sun blessed us all day and it was comfortable to have all the doors open and to doze on the wicker sofa.  Karen was making four flavors of infused gin from a bottle of cheap vodka and dried juniper berries.  I whipped up a quick Wambatu Curry, delicious spices and eggplant, for dinner.  There was time to sit at the new electric piano and fiddle with some chords.


Jim Wiggins

in Peradeniya, Sri Lanka