With a flutter of her eyes, and a sigh, she finds herself awake. It is morning, and the peach-bronzed glow of dawn is slowly sliding it’s bright fingers between the skins and poles of their quiet sanctum. Looking about, she studies the frailty of the tiny building. She notes the character of the weathered leather skins that flap like delicate lungs against the wooden pole-frame. They seem to inhale and exhale to the rhythm of an ancient mountain spirit. These skins are thin, but appear tanned and handsomely aged by wind, ice, heat and water.
Tiny sinews and straps of leather bind the corners of the pole structure. These ties are the only significant materials binding this light structure to the security of a barren mountainside. She can hear the faint ruffling sound of prayer flags fluttering against a rising wind. As if on cue, she raises herself on one elbow and turns towards her slumbering lover. Observing closely, she carefully and lovingly peruses the lines of his soft cheek, the peacefulness of his closed eyes and the rise and fall of his chest beneath a warm woollen blanket.
A pale pink vista, clouded with cirrhus formations, welcomes her morning vision. The sun, a white disk in the Eastern sky, struggles to penetrate the rising haze of mountainous clouds. This is her first Himalayan sunrise. She perches herself in the doorway of their tiny refuge, eyes wide, in the burgeoning silence. Triangular grey peaks of varying sizes stand like sentinels as silver-rimmed clouds seek passage and skim slowly across the ocean of sky. The silk scarf around her neck flutters softly. It is scented with cardamom, patchouli and sandalwood. Her mind drifts to thoughts of warmth and comfort. The sun shines brightly from a break in the mercuric clouds.
“My love, my offering,” she whispers. Exotic scents trigger her memory and recalls something that she had meant to do that morning. Preparing a small coal and tinder, she sets to making a small fire of precious wood carried from the valley a day previous. With ancestral deftness, she proceeds to warm the water to brewing temperature and steeps the delicate blend of herbal luxury. Once prepared, she strains the scented liquid into a tiny porcelain cup and traverses a short distance across that barren scape towards the tiny shelter.
“Good morning,” her voice pleasant and soft in the quiet of their sanctum. She addresses her lover gently.
He stirs slowly, then rises to a seated position. His eyes strain slightly against a piercing ray of bronzed-light. He smiles, first with his lips, then with his eyes. He shines. He accepts the warm offering from her outstretched hands. His grasp is strong, gentle and deliberate as he accepts the tea.
“My dear,” is all he says, as he gently lifts the tea to his lips, still smiling. A loving arm is extended, welcoming her close as the dawn light filters into their warm sanctuary.
All remains quiet.
They do not see, or hear, anything else.