The animals know I’m leaving. Shasta has begun sleeping in my open suitcase. Radar, who is not a lap dog, tries to climb into my lap at every available chance. The only noncommittal one is Mr. Darcy who continues to prowl through the tall grass hunting mice and snakes, generally bringing home something to leave on my pillow in the morning.I watch my home transform around me and think it’s good that I’m leaving. A stranger is moving into the back bedroom. My son taking over my room. I have to let go of things like neatness and know that in two weeks time, boy stuff will be strewn across my bedroom floor. How does one pack for six months away? I’m usually a light traveler, but I’m not feeling light now: camera, computer, tape recorder. Then there are all the cords and adapters that go with that stuff. And books. One of the things that drove my ex-husband crazy was that I always traveled with books. But how can I make this move to Shillong, Meghalaya without wanting to absorb as much of the place as I possibly can? A colleague from St. Anthony’s has been recommending books. I have Strangers in the Mist about political struggles and war in India’s northeast. Another follows the history of India from Independence through today. I have books on deep ecology, essays by Arne Naess. And, of course, a small book on Hindi, Urdu and Bengali languages. Not everything can be found on a Kindle. There will be books in my bags. Other things–a sarong. A sarong is probably the most useful piece of clothing for traveling. It’s light, easy to fold. It can be used for a blanket, a towel, a skirt. It can be dressed up or down. Besides that, flexibility is worth taking along. I have plenty of that. At times, I’ve thought I would be better off with a few more rigid boundaries. Be that as it may, adaptation probably won’t be my biggest problem. I wonder if they have artichokes in India?