Subsequent ridges fade into shapes, darker and less distinct. The farther down the lake one looks, the lower the clouds hang, until they obscure all trace of the apparent infinity of ridges. In front of the one sun-warmed wall of mountain, two rainbows arch skyward, disappearing into the clouds. One is a weak echo of the other. My Irish mind imagines the arc-segments are full semi-circles -- pot-o-gold, and all that. But the weak one seems to quit before it even reaches the cloud, and thus makes me wonder if rainbows are real, and - if they are - is the weak one as real as the bright one.
arches up from the lake,
Patches of grassy land stand above the water. They lop up the lake into a labyrinth of passageways. Even in a shallow draft canoe, one can often see past the phumdi grass, but still one must know the tiny isles or be trapped among them.
a narrow boat
silently glides between
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
The cone-hatted ladies converge on the plantation, a spreading swarm, picking the fresh green leaves, tossing them over the shoulder into a backpacked wicker basket, leaving behind a flattop trimmed tea shrub. The mid-day rains drive away the pickers for a short time, but they'll be back, squeezing between dripping tea trees, their skirts saturated with the cold morning rain that will steam off into a muggy afternoon.
head back to the fields
after mid-day rains