That First Morning

Thirty-six hours from door to door and I finally arrived in the village on the last day of hot season. After emptying my suitcases, I pulled on an old petticoat and my river blouse, wrapped a towel around my waist, draped another over my shoulders, grabbed my soap and headed to the river.

Every summer I return to India where we raised our family and our younger daughter lives still. Our house overlooks a sacred river; sacred because many temples are built along its banks, and holy sages have plunged in its waters.The tarred road outside our gate dead ends, dropping off into the slow moving brown waters- a rare place where timelessness exists. The river gives no clue as to the date or even the century.

In the early gray light of morning, women bring their children and their laundry down to the river. While the children play, their mothers soap the clothes, then beat them on large flat rocks that have been dragged up to the water’s edge. After the clothes are rinsed, wrung out and draped over bushes to dry, the children are gathered, scrubbed down and let loose to rinse off. Years ago I learned to bathe while fully dressed- a skill required in heavily populated rural India. 

That first morning the sun was high. The children had been dried, dressed and sent to school, so I had the river to myself- along with the cicadas, kingfishers and the strange little fish with the scratchy lips. On the opposite bank, I could make out the steep pitched red tiled roofs of the houses. 

I then plunged to wash off the dust from the outside world.

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6 comments

  1. maribethbatcho · June 28, 2016

    There is something really interesting about this piece of writing. I like that I can’t determine whether this is fiction or not, and would definitely be interested in more.

    Like

    • acrossthewallblog · July 2, 2016

      Hi Mari Beth-

      Thank you for your encouragement, In fact I am in India- much like a dream and much like camping out. After I entered the post into SOL on Tues- my first time ever posting to a blog- the internet failed and only came back this morning- Saturday. No problem for me, I’m on vacation!

      Please let me know if you get this- “got it” is enough. I can’t tell that the reply has been sent.

      Thanks

      Nancy

      Like

      • maribethbatcho · July 3, 2016

        Got it, Nancy!
        For a first time blog post, that piece was out of the park!
        Enjoy your time on vacation. You will have many stories to write about the trip!

        Like

  2. Deb Frazier · June 28, 2016

    Nancy,
    A beautiful post! I was so taken in by your words, and the visual imagery was beautiful and rustic. Sitting here at my kitchen island where the smells of toast and cereal hang in the air, I was in India, in the water, with the fish with the scratchy lips, at school with the freshly bathed children and all the while I never left my seat! Well, Done!

    Like

    • acrossthewallblog · July 2, 2016

      Hi Deb-

      Thank you for your kind reply and for the advice with the blog and posting for the first time. I seem to be the kind of person who when doing something new, I make all the mistakes there are to make. I appreciate your encouragement.

      Nancy

      Like

  3. aruddteacher100 · June 28, 2016

    Your description was interesting to read. I like learning about different places and cultures. It’s easy to take modern living for granted.

    Like

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