It is very important to do new things for brain plasticity. I have had cabin fever, low grade boredom and depression, nothing serious, but just that nagging need for newness, something different, another way to be than the usual one of waking up and doing the same things every day: in my case, being in my study, reading, researching, taking notes, emailing, making music, embroidering a bit, knitting, playing backgammon, watching TV. I thought I needed to travel. I  know a lot of people who do a lot of traveling just to get out of the rut, so to speak. Let me clarify — in the best of times, and most of the times it is the best of times for me, I love to do all the things I do, but sometimes even the best of things becomes a rut. So, I wanted to travel, but our driver in India was away for two weeks taking care of his severely diabetic wife, so that was out of the question. I knew I had to do something new right around here, for even the usual hikes in nature were not working. Even the days I took off from my chores were not rejuvenating because then I just lay about, and glorious laziness was glorious no longer.

Three days ago a very simple thing happened. I woke up, it was a warm morning, and I wanted to be outdoors, so I made myself a cup of tea, took the portable lounger into the garden, and just sat there, sipping the tea and watching the sun rise from the cleft in the high peeks around our home, and listening to the early morning chattering of birds. And it wasn’t just chattering, but the Blue Whistling Thrush, that sings my favorite birdsong, lyrical, liquid, long and so soulful it makes you stop and listen, was in a happy singing mood. I must have sat for an hour and when I returned to the house, I was a new being. But the one hour wasn’t enough. Payson and I took a picnic of cut vegetables, olives, cheese, and some snacks for the dogs and went to one of our favorite places — Shoja Nala; some call it Jalora Nala — to while away many hours later in the day. We crossed the Nala, a fallen tree provided a merciful bridge over the crystal waters, and we were on the other shore on a patch of moss covered earth by a huge boulder. The dogs were ecstatic and so were we. No, ecstasy is the wrong word. Nothing that dramatic, just a quiet being, doing nothing but looking and being in the green, listening to the sound of water, watching the movement of water and clouds. Nothing like nature to bring you out of your head and into the present, the moment, Now. We spent hours there, doing nothing, just talking occasionally, and playing with the dogs.

Talk about being in a rut — it took us three months, workaholics that we are, to get to a place that is only twenty or thirty minutes from our home and which we both love. Too much of being in the groove of work makes the soul rebel, and we have to listen to it when it speaks to us so persistently that nothing we do of the usual thing works anymore.

That evening, too, we brought our chairs to the porch — and wonderful chairs they are, that recline and make you look up at the sky and the wall of green across our home — and watched the light fade. Sometimes, you know, it is just pure oxygen that the body and soul crave.

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