Houses scattered among paddy fields and trees. The local villagers' hospitality is as overwhelming as their curiosity. Every stranger is a friend, who is invited to their homes to eat delicious food served with traditional hospitality. They appreciate my wearing traditional clothes, even if they wear ready-made clothing themselves!
Streams of visitors come to the housebearing small gifts and words of welcome. They want to know about my personal history and daily habits. The women want to touch my white skin and can't disguise their delight when I reach back, calling them sister or mother. The night brings the neighbouring menfolk, bearing torches, the arrack (a local alcoholic concoction) already consumed. Singing, dancing and beating rhythm on the pots and even the door, and any other available instruments. I hide behind my art pad, drawing portraits while they hide their teeth. The women are satisfied. The men believe themselves to be more handsome upon seeing their portraits. The village is hosting a talented foreign artist, they feel.
The pulse becomes a roar; clouds rush overhead and the rain pours down, sometimes for minutes, for hours or even days. Falling heavily on the forest canopy, filtering down its layers. Rain gives life to the rivers and the land below. The sky clears, the sun bursts out bright and hot. Steam may be seen rising from the rocks, new clouds being born from her leafy locks. Beautiful forest embroidered in green, dark rocks glisten by the silvery white stream. Plants & trees flower, each an opening fragrant prayer to the gods of the forest, the rain and the air. Dreams are created and time is forgotten in this ageless setting.
Playing in the life blood, cool fresh water, laughter floating from the trees. Sunny days floating in the stream, her pulse filling my ears as I gaze at the overhanging jungle, doing nothing, living in the present.