I breathe in those telling winds, gazing over the mud porch at the hills before me. There are acres of wild forest and farm and creatures, mango trees heavy with still-green fruit, yellow eggplants, prickly branches, banana leaves that shade wild, uncultivated earth.
The rain begins. It comes softly and suddenly, leaving no room for the overbearing sun or the thick, languid air that weighs on my eyelids all day long. The flies retreat, the beetles scurry away. For minutes I just sit on the porch, watching the soil quench its thirst.
When I inhale I notice something under my ribs -- an ache like heartache, a love like my mother's warm hug. After days of talk and travel, there is nothing left but to feel open and raw like the fresh dirt under my finger nails, dusting my soles and speckling each sip of water I draw from an earthen pot to drink.
I think of life's sharp edges that have followed me to India. A friend's accusations, a family secret, an unanswered question. I think of a boy and feel ashamed that my words turn their feet in his direction.
The rain stops and the sun stays hidden. A grey sky is cool and welcome and the leaves drip green and red and brown. My heart is wet and weathered and I tuck it away so that I can return to the safety of my mind, where stories are made.
Sitting across from me, Sanjeev Anna has this peaceful smile playing on his face that can come only from having one hand in the soil, eyes bright from gazing at the starry night sky.
I look for courage in the trees.