to wake up wondering

the cow outside my window (in the village of Kanda, Uttrakhand)

Oh. Creaky, rusty fingers. Of which I would prefer to point at the Himalayan monsoons in blame.  But really, we all know, the real culprit is disuse.

Blog content comes to me like the first bubble on the bottom of a pan being watched for boil. I wait. And then there’s this tiny thought. And I stare at it. And recognize that there might be something there. But if I get impatient, distracted, and walk away to water a wilted plant, turn another page into the next chapter on my book, or remember an online bill that I have to pay today – well then the pot boils down behind my back. And even if I remember it, and run back, I find myself scratching my head over my initial intended use.  What was it I was, again, I was watching or waiting for?

On the other hand, if I focus, meditate really, on that first bubble. (And it is not easy.) If I put aside the natural ADD of the mundane world and really WATCH that bubble. Then before I know it, there’s another by its side. And then the whole bottom of the pan has suddenly multiplied with these tiny, disorganized but themed dots of thought. And that’s exactly the moment when I need to grab a pen or saddle into my keyboard. For a moment too late, and it’s still all steamed away.

So this the first bubble spotted on my bottom of my unboiled thought: “I wonder how these sheets were dried?”

A little context:

I’ve flown for 14 hours and two days into the future and landed in the ever-dusky city of Delhi. Delirious with time travel, I tip out the taxi driver, uncurl my stiff Hindi tongue and hand over my passport to the hotel manager. Without a fight, I allow a boy to take my bag and show me to my room, collapse into bed, dissolve a melatonin pill under my tongue, and black out with the night.

When I awake, this is my first though: “I wonder how these sheets were dried?”

They smell clean.  And they are absolutely crisp. For everything, always, is pressed in India. (Even my socks are returned to me with pleats.) The hot iron, however, usually erases the story. Bleaches all sheets equal. But still I’m left smelling and wondering of the industry that dried my sheets. Was it sent to a dhobi (laundry man) as I do myself when I’m settled locally? Did he roll it up in a bundle and tie it to the back of his bike, and return it two days later, with a whistle at the door? Was it dried on a roof in this monsoon, but sweltering hot, season? Did it flutter in the fog and pollution of the city before an iron pressed the history out of it? Or was it stuffed into the people-machine of a newer urban underground industry? In this fancy, developed, city – was it actually tumbled in a dryer? I’ve heard rumors of them existing, but still never seen one in India.

Wait a minute.

Have I ever, once, woken up in hotel or bed at “home” and had an entire mental discourse on my sheets? Have I ever done more that kick them aside?

Ah yes. This is why I travel. To do less. Or more. Than just assume and kick aside. To feel the texture. To inhale deeply. To task my imagination. And to question.

To wake up wondering.

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