"You wouldn't know it to look at him, but Balrum had been sent home to die. A Nepali mustard farmer living atop Mount Sarangkot, he had left the mountains only twice in his life: once to participate in a census, the other to receive his diagnosis."

So begins "Requiem for a Good Man," Dr. Joseph Little's short travel piece turned encomium, which will appear in the contemplative anthology “In Search of Simple: Field Notes from Near and Far on Slow Living.”

Dr. Little, associate professor of English at Niagara University, had been backpacking in the western Himalayas one January when Balrum took him in, graciously providing lodging in a nearby cabin and unforgettable conversations around the campfire as the quiet farmer, with remarkable grace and presence, said farewell to his family.

“Ironically, it was a desire to find a stillness within that led me 8,000 miles to a little mustard farm in the Himalayas,” said Dr. Little. “Balrum's example—his open heart, his deep presence, the way he connected with everyone around the fire—left an indelible impression on me at a time when I was searching for direction, and his memory continues to ground me today.”

"Requiem for a Good Man" is an addendum to Dr. Little's longer travelogue, “Letters from the Other Side of Silence,” published by Homebound Publications in 2017. “In Search of Simple,” also published by Homebound Publications, will be released in February 2023. The anthology explores what it can look like to seek out slow living and embrace a life steeped in intentionality.

“I'm grateful to have the opportunity to share this story in a new anthology dedicated to presence, mindfulness, and simplicity, especially in our current age of distraction,” Dr. Little said.


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