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Full text of "A hermit in the Himalayas"

A   HERMIT   IN   THE   HIMALAYAS

I appreciate all the grandeur and beauty which surround me
and offer humble thanks for them. The solitude is absolute and
possesses an extraordinary soothing quality. Himalaya is so restful
that a work-weary business magnate might well change his itineraries
for once and seek it out, if he seeks a cure for his worn-out nerves. It
is good and necessary to get away from people at times, to put ten
thousand feet of mountain height between one and their fidgety
restless bodies. Such days of flight are not wasted, even for the busiest
of executives; they bring a new viewpoint, a better perspective, an
additional inspiration. Nature may sometimes be as good as any
efficiency expert to help a tired director sift and simplify his problems
of management, manufacturing and salesmanship. She too has a
report to submit. Only—hers comes not upon elaborately-typed
sheets of foolscap; it comes with the illuminating Hash of intuition
that upwells from one knows not where, when one makes the penitent
return to her secluded and silent abodes.

Once again I start out on the next phase, which now takes the
shape of a steep ascent. Most of its surface is littered with loose
pebbles and chunks of broken rock. The horse sets its feet down
more cautiously and seems to have a dread of slipping on this
irregular ground during its arduous efforts to attain the top of the
slope.

Signs of the severe earthquakes which have repeatedly struck at
the whole of this region are not wanting* Evidential fissures show
themselves to the observant eye.

One evening but a week ago I felt a shock of moderate intensity
which lasted about thirty seconds vibrate my body violently during
meditation.

We reach the rim of a huge natural basin in whose placid circular
depths there repose a few tiny villages. On the opposite side a hamlet
clings like a nest to the side of a less steep mountain. The buildings
look like miniature dolls* houses.

From valley to height and then to snowy top the whole landscap
is bathed in rose and pink light succeeded by ruby and orange, and
then in the last purple glow of sunset. Here and there the ground is
staixed with midget wildflowers. A flock of small black goats bleats
behind me and I back the horse to the inner edge of the path to let
it pass. The herdsman is evidently driving them homewards from
some neighbouring patch of pasturage lower down the mountain-
side. He is bare-legged almost to the tops of his thighs, and wears a
loose hanging shirt covered by a tattered grey jacket. A flat-topped
round black hat rests sideways on his head, like the cap of a Scotch
soldier or Gurkha warrior. His picturesque tawny face is good-
natured and he greets me respectfully when he comes up abreast.

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