Paddy Shacks [Haibun]

Near Khonoma, Nagaland
In a quiet valley, terraced rice paddies lie flooded but unsprouted, their glassy surfaces vaguely mirror the sky above. More than the narrow dykes, it's the mere inches of elevational difference that gives each irregular patch of water a distinct appearance. Each one is hit by light from the same distant source, and though they are as close to equidistant from that source as imaginable, each tells its own story in hue and glint. Amid the paddies, squat supply shacks pose as an inhospitable village -- all moat, no yard, and unneighborly distances between them. And yet there is something quaintly soothing about this fiction of a village.


squat shacks stand,
islands amid paddies --
a faux village 

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