The Langtangpa, like many of us, are both looking backward and looking forward. Amid the confusion and liminality of the pandemic, there are some silver linings. Many of the children and youth of Langtang are back at home, reconnecting to their place, speaking their mother tongue. In the past few weeks, many people in Langtang have again begun planting fields that have lain fallow since the earthquake. Looking out at these fields and the children working alongside their parents, some people are saying: “पहिले जस्तै लाग्छ” (it feels like before).
In Langtang, as elsewhere, the temporalities of disaster and aftermath are woven together with long-term processes of social and intergenerational change, dreams of progress, memories of fading pasts, and the cycle of births and deaths. The wind comes. Rivers and glaciers carve through mountains forever rising and falling apart. Pasts and futures flow together and eddy around us, today and every day.
Austin Lord is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Anthropology at Cornell University and a Fulbright-Hays DDRA Fellow who conducted his dissertation research in Nepal in 2019-2020. He would like to thank all of his friends and sources in the Langtangpa community who helped him piece together this narrative, for sharing their experiences, their words, and their time.