This week, I finally met the gem man. I was interested in his Tibetan mandalas, painted on rice paper with crushed stones and collected by his great grandfather from the mountains. I bought three, and then he opened his suitcases of jewelry. From packs of folded white paper came a gorgeous array, I couldn't resist a small crystal egg and some moonstone pendants. I asked him if he had any rainbow obsidian, a stone I have been looking for (in the lava flows of eastern Oregon and gem and hippie shops) for about two years. He thought perhaps yes, but at his shop across the lake.
So today again, he showed up at the island with a boat full of suitcases and an invitation to his home. After tea in a smoky dirt kitchen, and 6 hours and many gems later I found my rainbow obsidian, a 420 carat peridot, various topaz and the shiniest, clearest rose quartz I have ever seen. Like a deer in headlights, I didn't know what hit me.
So here I am, less traveling in India than living in Kashmir, painting on the walls when I feel like it, writing fairy tales to amuse myself and buying ridiculous crystals.