20 July 2008

Letter 2.42

I've built a small hut on the edge of the jungle here, not far from the Forest Hermitage (if you went there when you were in Kandy you'll know which jungle I mean) and have been here a month now -- fantastic scenery and all that jazz.

I've also had time to re-read Worthy Bones, which gives me quite a bit to gnaw on, though I might wish I felt more sympathy, or indeed any sympathy, or even any empathy for any of the characters. My relationship to them seems to be lacking. Whose fault is this? Mine? Yours? Theirs? 

Hope by now Notes on Dhamma will have reached you (you may find yourself in the same relationship to Notes as I found myself in with Bones) -- it was sent sometime ago. 

So it looks like it's maybe all over with the Island Hermitage and me -- again, lack of empathy for the characters, I suppose. 

The hut is perched atop a small mountain overlooking the Odeon Theatre, Mt. Fujiyami, and some granite cliffs reminiscent of those in the interior of Crete. Then there are the gentle dusky green and rust-brown hills which roll away beyond the clearing, lowbushed, surrounding my site, with closer and heavier jungle on three sides. I am, presumably, not far from a lunatic asylum to judge from the number of madmen who visit me or pass by on strange quests. 

Tucked away at the bottom of the mountain, out of sight -- like the outhut -- is the village where I collect my food and mail each morning -- a rather mixed bag which would not meet with the full approval of your dietician. Tucked away at the top of the mountain, consuming stringhopper hearts after carefully unraveling the string, I wish you a happy (Sinhalese) New Year (April 14), a Merry Vesak (May ?), and continue trying to undo what is to be undone.

(Your letter arrived after sealing this. Shall be happy to receive a new set of Bones -- shall donate the old set to the local museum of Natural History -- they will closet them. Does your Notes have English translation?)


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