City Vox Popili – A Life in Tansy’s Day, Manali
As part of The Delhi Walla series asking citizens to “write down everything you did in one day.” Send yours in 400 words max to firstname.lastname@example.org
[Photos by Dasel Troy-Norbu]
[By Tansy Troy, an “educator, performer, poet”]
First sun streams in through dusky silk curtains, rectangles of light. Passerines are conversing loudly in the pear tree. Dasel, my nine year old daughter, and I, huddle under heaps of quilts, staving off the fast approaching chill. There is already snow on the mountains.
We rise, feed the animals, drink coffee in the sun, recount our dreams. Dasel writes a letter to her godmother, thanking her for an illustrated edition of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, which she is finding ‘even more exciting and mysterious’ on the third read.
I pack parcels of lambswool socks, gloves, hats, hand-knitted comfort from our Himalayan nest, bundled up to fly across continents to London, to friends in Eire. I contemplate the epic view for the thousandth time, different each day, inspiring a thousand shades of awe. Holly oak, woodsmoke, pine, cedar, apple, stillness, stillness. Seulement le bruissement du plume…
It is time to venture to town to catch the post. We squeeze past the rotund tummies of three warm eyed Jersey cows, stop to write on the steps of the haybarn, whose soothingly ancient flagstones reassure me that whatever I scribe will only ever be part of a long continuous tale, a tiny sentence in the Great Book written by all the wordsmiths who ever were, who will ever be.
The tailor sews and sealing waxes our packages into pockets of unbleached cotton.
Leaves of a tree I cannot identify are turning vermillion under a bright blue sky flecked with long wings of cloud. Underfoot, newly fallen pine cones thick with sap and yellow catkins, disintegrating to powder.
Outside the temple in Chaal village, children are wrapped in blankets or dancing round, singing and invoking Jai Mata Lakshmi. And I remember that she is the goddess of abundant life rather than simply material wealth: what greater richesse than a life in these mountains, these homespun memories of a childhood played out far from urban grime?
Before returning home through the orchards and pine woods, we pay homage at the Mother Tree, a mighty pine with five interconnected trunks. Ritualistically, we ask our secret questions, press ears to her rough trunk for answers.
We turn to watch the sun descending behind the snowy mountains, setting them on fire, ruby red as the leaves that light our way home.
I wish the sun would never go down, that our days here were unending.