The sky here is incredible. At nighttime, it’s like no other. In Nepal, the stars seem to reach out fragile tendrils and grab for your attention, for your hands. It’s hard not to stop wherever you are, crane your head back as far as it can go and just sit in an arena of twinkling lights. I wish above all that I cold share the night sky with my family back home so that they could feel how near the universe feels when you are sitting on the top of a mountain in the Himalayas. But I guess prose will have to suffice. I hope that as you read, you are able to visualize, maybe even a little, the beauty of it all as daytime, like a Pantone gradient, slowly dissipated into nighttime one Himalayan night.
The puppet master’s fingers are tied to tenuous, tree-stained sunbeams. His stage is the setting sky, he hides behind curtains of mountains. Tugging ever so slightly, he emits rays of radiance that populate a small, blue-roofed village. The master throws powders of color and suddenly, peaches and oranges soak the scene, drenching the blue in their fruity haze. He pulls his strings to one side and illuminates a stoic mountain; the mud teems red, the trees shiver in chilling warmth, light reflects off of mineral infused rocks. The puppet master unties his strings — his attention is elsewhere now that the clock calls. Chevron layers of rice paddy stacked hills begin to tuck themselves in for the impending dark. A machine of water, pressure and earth stealthily spews white, silent fog. The master hides now behind the diminished light of heaps of rock. He steals the shadow and replaces it with night. You don’t notice because your eyes are distracted by his illusion: the silhouettes that sway in the wind beyond mimicking prayer flags. A slight purple paints the canvas. He disperses candles in window-like villages few and far between. Off of a piece of paper he plucks dazzling stickers of stars and a meteor-torn moon with a perfectly shaped chunk missing and adheres them one by one to the roof of his set. He plays a soundtrack of silence only partially disturbed by the occasional gust of wind that circumambulates mountain-cradled stupas. Stillness fills canyons of air. It is dark now. And finally, his work is done.