A place with roses and frost in the morning, sun not over the mountains yet –

rolling roads, where three new paths have been made because

cars just aren’t meant to be here

and there are bulls that stare at you

and dogs bigger than any you’ve seen here

so much milk tea that it makes your stomach ache

with the love from Bhutanese families who invite you into their home so you can ask them personal questions

whereas Americans feel affronted by the census

you know – privacy.

Tang feels like the dust and grass of Ugyen Choling,

the farmer who speaks Dzongkha, not English (of course), but who wants you to come back when you are happily married

and when you have a good job, to stay at his farmhouse

just to stay

to live

in Tang

he fed us tai-tai, fresh rice puffs from the tsechu

and heated them on his wood stove, which he offered because we were standing in the cold.


Tang feels like the village next to Laphang Community Forest

where the old woman pours buckwheat onto the red mat and whistles

do you know why? Hemanta asks, having wandered around the house, attracted by the sound.

She is calling the wind. She is calling the wind to dry her buckwheat.

This village is precarious, falling off the ridge into the valleys on either side

up on the top we had lunch – buckwheat pancakes with strawberry jam made here,

an egg, a boiled potato, vegetable curry, and mango juice that comes from The South…

This valley feels like crawling into a sleeping bag at night, when a room feels as cold as outside

and you drink Druk 11000, curled next to the woodstove that the man – brother, as Hemanta calls him –

whose smile lights up Bumthang, has just lit for us.

It feels like sore hips from sitting cross-legged on woven mats all day

listening to Brad ask about ecological knowledge

– they laugh about stinging nettle and never know maple –

and Chrisna speaks in Dzongkha and Nepali to old ladies who offer us ara at nine in the morning

nami sami kadrinchela, but no I’m not going to drink right now

and the babies we play with and the pears we are offered

and giving gifts with both hands and smiling at old women who are beaming at me

and knowing I know nothing about her, but what does she think of me?

She must know something good, to be so kind.

But maybe she just likes that I am here, and likes seeing my face

I sure like seeing her face, and watching the prayer beads glide through her fingers

as she answers my questions in Bumthap, giving me the gift of her life and experience through an interview that is poorly designed, in the grand scheme of things

– why am I not just asking about her life?

Tang is a place I want to be,

yes, I will stay with you during the winter when there is not much to do in the fields

and eat tai-tai and try to learn Dzongkha while I might teach you a little English

and your wife will come back from Thimphu so you are not so lonely and maybe some of your six children will visit.

Perhaps I will learn Dzongkha just so I can walk across the valley

and up the hill

and ask that lady to teach me how to call the wind.







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