On Tuesday I woke up putting it straight in my mind to improve my attitude. I was rewarded with a good day at school with ample energy to meet the challenges. It was a sunny March day with streaming clouds feathering the valley which still has a multitude of wildfires burning on either side of the river in either country. On our little mountain kids ran about in national dress and not one of them was speaking English which I called to their attention all day sidling up to social groups and imploring them to gossip or play in that language. This simple natural choice is the primary hindrance for them in developing as speakers. It’s not much different in the staffroom where I sit now. Classes are rolling along and going well. Next to me they’re having a scout meeting which is a branch of the same American program which as it turns out is a worldwide phenomenon (I retired after the pinewood derby at the rank of Cub) They just conducted a weeklong scout retreat with 28 teachers from Yangtse Dzongkhag who spent day and night engrossed in activities bedding down in the MP Hall. By night one could hear them singing and dancing and by morn one could observe them marching in Orange scarves quite the military outfit. Our scout master is Sangay Tenzin previously (Counselor) but I can’t call him that anymore since we have acquired a professional counselor on staff. Sitting nearby is Nir Mala who wears a teal kira looking like a mermaid who swam way upstream from the Bay of Bengal before wriggling out of the Dangme Chu and joining our mountain community. Actually she’s from Wangdi and is of Nepali descent but despite speaking Nepali as her mother tongue she very much identifies as a Bhutanese saying her great grandfather had lived here. She adeptly speaks Dzonkha, Nepali, Sharchop, English, and most likely Hindi too as one must remember how skilled at language Bhutanese are indeed. She’s never been to Nepal and doesn’t seem to have a desire to retrace those roots. Essentially she’s as pure Bhutanese as her name suggests and my new plan is to make a nice friendship and ignore the rumors that she has a boyfriend in Paro or the overtures by the native bachelors. Meanwhile I offer meager blandishments hoping to curry favor. I admire her deportment and everything she says and does as a first rate infatuation ensues, a spring of hope in the desert of my heart. Hell love is in the air for someone somewhere with red rhody blooms thumping in my hungry heart as crickets are reborn. Thunder is on my mind and I wonder if the Dragon will deliver a heavy load this spring yet so far the weather pattern is hazy and mild with cold nights but the needle is turning. The meeting adjourns unceremoniously with that winsome aquatic maiden departing without as much as a flick of recognition. In her absence the air has been sucked out of the room and I’m left only with ringing laughter drifting up from the playground.