Margi decides that it is time for me to see the Bhagsu waterfalls. She hails an autorickshaw (a 3 wheeled vehicle, open on both sides) and off we go. I hold on for dear life; it is a roller coaster ride with a real cliff below and plenty of obstacles (people, other vehicles, animals) but it is part of the experience.
We begin the arduous hike, and, as Penelope mentioned below, she leaves me in the dust. It is okay, she says, for even those without cancer to take a break. And I do. We finally get to our spot, and it is indeed breathtaking. I take advantage of her good humor and whip out the camera. I know she has gone through this camera ritual with everyone else, but I still need my pictures of her, too. Margi jumps around and poses on rocks; standing, kneeling, sitting; I keep shooting.... I see a few goats nearby and begin to photograph them, as well. And then, we get carried away....Margi decides on a great photo-op: she pulls out a cracker to feed a goat: "Take the picture, Deane!" As I do, we are run over by all the goats....like waving candy in front of children. While Margi and I push them, repeatedly, off our rock, I keep shooting. So much for our collective art direction.
On the hike back down the mountain, we stop to visit with Aju, the sweet, gentle young man who runs the chi house up here. As soon as he sees Margi, he begins to share his tale of woe and heartbreak; it is a Shakespearean classic complete with lovers who wish to marry, and families with different plans... So, here is Margi in her element; she becomes Aju's mentor, guide, counselor, and caring friend, offering sound wisdom and advice, as well as words of comfort and support. By the time we make it back down the mountain, it is early evening, but Aju is smiling at last, willing to hope that happiness may soon be his.
Margi and I have fallen into a routine, very similar to the one Penelope created with her. Mornings are quiet, uninterrupted affairs. I paint, draw, hike; Margi takes care of her morning rituals. We sometimes meet for lunch, or for tea on the rooftop to watch the sunset. Today is an easy day, we have plans for tomorrow. But plans can change at any moment: the side effects to chemo are strange and bizarre; Margi reminds me that each day is different, so we take it one afternoon at a time.
I love Penelope's photos; now that I am here, they look very familiar (but no goats...)