THE ROAD TO PAGAN
AGREAT sandbank has been forming for years before the town of Yenan-Gyaung, and the present channel in consequence lies far to the west ; so far is it, that the cliffs of Yenan-Gyaung are almost lost to sight as I slowly travel on. The western shore is low, and villages, almost treeless, cluster on the edge of the alluvial plain. Popa with his cloud-cap, like an embodied memory of his past, is lifted high above the rolling uplands. White-sapphire clouds have taken the place of his smoke, as though the ages had purified him, bringing peace to his fierce heart.
Presently the channel swings back under the eastern cliffs and we come upon the village of Kyanye, hidden in dark woods, its long-boats drawn up by the waters edge. The river, like an hour-glass, compresses into a single stream, then spreads out again, encircling islands of kaing meadows. Later, in the west, there are wide green plains, with herds of cattle grazing on them, dark blue masses of oak-like woods, villages with monastery roofs and pagoda spires. Electric clouds swoon in the sky above the blue mountains of Aracan, and the river spreads unbroken from shore to shore.