Half moon, half river.

The half moon over the western peaks, straight before me from Vashisht. Straight but not exactly — for nothing is exactly straight in the Himalaya that is as crooked as my brain. The half white fruit rests right between my eyes as I look up.

It’s almost midnight.

My gaze shuttles between the moon and the river in the valley, the lovely little Beas that is dazzling in pale white, in the half-baked light of the 50% moon. The two are far from me, but not equally far, but look equally far, so they are equally far from me and I’m equally far from them. The three of us are as far from each other as we should be. The four of us actually, including the mountains. And now I want to talk about one of us, the river. The river that is suddenly white tonight.

As if she is smuggling milk from the nearby villages. As if she is slurping away snow from the mountains with her long, wet tongue. As if she had a savage desire to destroy those who have been destroying her and swallowed half the moon to keep her cool.

Now she is beaming from the half moon in her belly, under the other half in the sky. The dangerous little Beas in a pale white dress, borrowed yet her own. Half moon, half river. Half beast, half beauty.

March 11, 2022