1. ⎈Norway Part 4: Legends of the Sami and a Search for a New Year

    “Bags of water. That’s all we are,” my Company once said to me. I suppose it never fully goes away. As people enter and leave, each one begins imprinting their own footprint, marked into us with that same hot iron that stays glowing long after they’re gone. Our imprints of their touch glow with a remarkable sadness and with that ineffable warmth of having been touched by their presence. Perhaps all this warmth escapes into the atmosphere and visits us as the Sami had believed, souls of the dead, lighting up the otherwise dark and cold night sky. Looking into the night, I could not help but wonder.

  2. ⎈Norway Part 3: Silence, Winter

    In the Arctic darkness, there is stillness in the absence of sun which is always resting below the horizon, emitting a weak light that turns the entire land and ocean pale blue. Sunrise or sunset, the reflections of the clouds on the water last a few hours before the darkness sweeps over everything but the stars.

  3. ⎈Norway Part 2: The Hunt for the Aurora

    The aurora can move like a large, slow river or like a narrow windy creek that falls from the sky. At first, it looks like an iridescent cloud, but as it unwinds itself into the atmosphere, the unusual cloud shines brighter than the surrounding clouds and turns green, increasing in its color and intensity until the entire sky, forest, or body of water is lit below it.

  4. Beijing and Delhi: An absence of space

    We thought we had learned and adjusted to the crowds in China, but then we arrived in New Delhi. It’s hard to wave someone away when you can understand them. A stranger will open his mouth and English words come out, and immediately, you turn your face and that’s enough to give away that yes, you do understand that “he’s here to help show you the city! Bring you to the best shop in town! To the best food! The best drinks!…don’t walk that way because you’ll end up in the slums, come with me, no come over here…don’t walk in that direction, why don’t you stop in for a bit?…” and on and on.

  5. The Hustle: Delhi in Two Days

    A day earlier, my company and I had shamefully returned to our cold, air conditioned hotel lobby sporting a layer of sweat that stuck our clothes firmly onto our bodies. “We cannot be in Delhi and hide in our hotel all day,” I had hissed. “No, no we can’t.” My company’s forehead was lined with beads of sweat. “Do you want to go out there?” “No, no I don’t.” “What are we going to do? We need to look at the map, but don’t open it in front of the tour guide promoter or else he’s doing to hassle us into buying a tour again.”

  6. China: The Hustle

    There’s something about China that I’ve never seen anywhere else. Here’s an image: it is 9pm at night and dinner has been consumed. The streets have a loud rumble to them, and part of it is the buses and the cars that drive through traffic like traffic laws had never been written; part of it is the music from the elderly practicing their dance forms and exercising outside their homes on the sidewalks, in parking lots, on public spaces, on private spaces; and part of it is the children running around on the streets and the sidewalks and around the homes and in the parks; but most of it is this energy that’s made when every single person in the city is out - whether it’s in Beijing or Luoyang or Xi’an. It’s as if they’d been hiding in their homes all afternoon to avoid the thick, humid heat and the swarms of people (all millions and tens of millions of them) to come out at night and really get on with things, like playing poker on the corner with a couple of beers, a few packs of cigarettes, and bowls upon bowls of salty peanuts.

  7. India, a Dream in Pieces

    Ganga sat hunched with hollow cheeks, the flies landing and going, and the ripple of the water reflecting the thick air. Ganga laid motionless, waiting for the air to speak, and the air did not speak. Ganga cried, and the flies hovered, on sunken cheeks. And then the air spoke and rain came with a flood of wind, and it rained and rained and rained.

  8. If the Wet Air Remembered Something

    If the wet air remembered something, the dry lost it. I felt it the first time around. It made me feel I would never see you again, but you when your voice appeared I cringed. Was that the feeling? I couldn’t remember you when I was with you, but when you left, your memory never left me. The shadow followed me on early mornings when I woke up and it overflowed me until the afternoon when I was ready for dusk to tuck me into night. Goodnight.

  9. Dear Aldo, a Vignette

    The summer came unexpectedly in late May, brought by a series of downpours late in the evenings that woke Lila up with a shiver, coldly. It began as a wet summer. It was the wettest she would remember, and sitting inside her home, with the lights off, Lila still shivered while the summer passed by, hour after hour.

  10. The Woman in the Mirror

    Her scarf lay along the desk which contained three books and held a large, oval mirror. The days passed and various things would place themselves in front of her mirror: a vase of flowers, her day’s left-over work, a laptop, an occasional sweater, and now and then, on mornings when she could afford the minutes, she’d sit in front of her mirror and check the reflection that stared back at her. Sometimes the reflection blinked, sometimes it smiled, sometimes it frowned, but most the time, it looked back at her with a stern resignation of indifference.

  11. Water in a Bowl

    You might be my soul mate, but I’m looking for someone here on earth.” Her words remained motionless. Even after the expressions began to fade, he recalled touching the water in the bowl, look at her while she spoke, his fingers brushing against the taut surface of the water, trembling.

  12. Light Dark

    Lux, a light without shadow, without the shaping of something, Light, creeping into this window and along the drapes shapes, draping, lighting the edges, soft leicht, fluttering so much those edges begin to lift themselves.