We're back at sea level. It's not too bad -- it's raining, and the sky is soft and grey.
About 30 years ago, I took 2 years out of my American life to study classical dance here in Chennai, which was then called Madras (20 years ago I returned and stayed on). During a school vacation I went up to Ooty, close to Coonoor, from which we have just returned. Everythng was much smaller and simpler then, of course. I stayed at the Anandagiri YWCA and was given what is called bed tea, in a white china pot covered with a tea cozy. I paid for a bucket of steaming hot water to bathe in. I sat on the terrace and ate toast and home-made marmalade for breakfast. It was cold and wonderful.
One day I took a bus to Kotagiri, which was a tiny hamlet, just a few buildings and the tea estates. I had tea and something in a place with old lithographs on the walls, of Queen Victoria, and kittens. Then I walked into the estate, a valley with a stream flowing through it, and thought that if there were such a thing as heaven it might look like this.
Even today, whenever I see a tea estate I imagine that person, my self of that time, surrounded by the tidy green plants, interspersed and shaded with silver oak trees. She sits beside a clear stream in gentle sunlight, reading a book (there would be libraries, of course). Perfectly alone and contented, forever.