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Lions Roar : May 2018
But, before you book your tickets or purchase an extra suitcase, it’s worth knowing that Bhodur’s craftsmanship always contains an imperfection. According to the artisans, the gods themselves are flawed, and so their wares contain a slight fault: their clothing has a frayed thread, their stat- ues a chip where a guided chisel fell, and their bracelets a dent from an imprecise bevel. One finds travelers inspect- ing artifacts with disappointment, shaking their heads as they pick up a singing bowl engraved with the face of a local nymph. Do you have one without a mistake, they ask, pointing to the dent. Come back tomorrow, the artists promise, we’ll have one with no faults. And so, commerce has become Bhodur’s lifeblood as tour buses clog its smog-filled roads, blaring pop music and scenic descriptions, while its artisans sit along the roadsides, working tirelessly to carve the faces of their gods for our walls at home. They lay out their wares in the morning light, hoping to fulfill our desires, all of us wish- ing for something much better. The Land of Bent WHICHEVER GOD CREATED the topography of Bent must have had the temperament of a drunk. For, here and there, caper bushes are thrown sporadically along road- sides; olive trees rise without warning; forests of fir, aspen, and cypress emerge like mistakes; and just when you’ve got- ten a handle on that, a field of wild strawberries emerges, a tall cherry tree in bloom, or a kumquat bush squats in the middle of a square as if on a whim. No wonder the poetry of Bent speaks of God as a barfly, or that the town should be filled with taverns and wineries more readily than tem- ples and courthouses. Maybe it’s this bacchanal flamboyance that explains why in Bent’s summer months visitors can experience one of the world’s most unusual weather patterns. From June to September, during dusk’s final moments, the sky over Bent turns a deep violet, and then, like stars emerging, objects begin to materialize in the air. Spoons and forks, serv- ing trays and doilies, blenders and cookware all float high above, ready for the taking. In summer, whole houses can be furnished by climbing the tallest hill and reaching out. Children scoop comic books and gaming consoles from the clouds, and on many a midsummer’s eve, one sees men and women with fishing poles casting their lures aloft to reel in sofas and coffee tables. How does this phenomenon occur? Unfortunately, we cannot tell you—we’re guidebook writers, after all, not scien- tists—but suffice it to say that cooling air descends and heat rises and ionized particles solidify, and so on and so forth, until the air above Bent begins to produce washing machines for the taking. Tourism continues to flourish, and come mid- May, crowds flock to the mountains to secure the best spots. Those hoping to be the first to pull in toaster ovens and flat- screen televisions take to camping on hills weeks before the season begins, and they arrive with extra suitcases and ship- ping containers, prepared to fill their houses. But be forewarned: autumn is a time of great loss. The items produced by this unusual phenomenon melt like spring snow when summer ends, and each object captured from the sky dissolves back into the air. One feels the first cold breeze, and we watch our silverware and desk lamps disappear. Opening our cabinets, we discover all the towels gone. A child riding his bicycle finds himself on the sidewalk; our new laptop vanishes in the middle of an important email; and homes filled with hot tubs and KitchenAid mixers reveal empty sockets where the appliances once stood. Many say it would be best to never climb the hills in those summer months. Better to leave the floating treasures high above, their chrome catching the setting sun, their crystal casting prisms of light onto our faces. Locals suggest staying indoors or traveling abroad during the season, and customs officials remind us not to fill our luggage with free knickknacks subject to import duty. But who can resist the summer hills when evening presents its items so readily? Everything we’ve ever wanted is floating above us, so close to our grasp we need only reach out toward the pleasures, every one of them guaranteed to bring us sorrow. Everything we’ve ever wanted is floating above us, so close to our grasp we need only reach out toward the pleasures, every one of them guaranteed to bring us sorrow. LION’S ROAR | MAY 2018 71