Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Connecting with Nature

It is criminal to have an exam on a day as beautiful as this. But we did, and in the three quarters of an hour that I spent on the bus to college, my eyes were more on the cloud-veiled hills than on my Data Mining textbook. A thick, cloudy mist hung in the distance, ready to swallow anything that dared to come too close to it. I tried to make out the outlines of the green hills in the distance, but I could barely see them- just a little curve, here and there, made itself visible, assuring me that the hills were standing strong through the storm, enjoying the attentions of the low, swirling clouds.

My heart bleeds for the ravaged hills. Everytime we decide to make our own lives easier, we destroy a bit of nature. So it is with the hills. Connectivity and comfortable travel is what we are asking for. The solution? Bare the hill slopes of all the trees, cut through them and run trucks up and down the red roads, pressing against the soil that once sustained a more gentle, nature-friendly form of life. Today, the rain-laden clouds embrace the hill tenderly, forming a cold compress on its bleeding wounds; the moist wind blows softly, adding its own soothing effect.

The pink flowers bloom by the highway every January. Towards the close of the mild winter, they make their appearance. They herald the arrival of spring/summer. They arrived last month, as usual, and are now fading away. Which is the signal for summer to sneak in. Yes, summer, because it supplants the fleeting spring and establishes itself with unnecessary fury. I like the little bit of spring that we do have. My memories of spring? I associate the season with Board Exams. I remember walking home from the bus stop every afternoon, when I was in school, and the fluff would fly around, seeking an anchor so its parent plant could propagate itself. The fluff would stick to socks, clothes, hair; every visible inch of space. I'd hold my palm open as I walked down the tree-lined road, and sometimes the fluff would fly right into my clammy hand. Then I'd release it immediately, feeling a little guilty, because it rightly belongs to the air, and, to me, symbolises freedom. Just once, I'd like to be able to experience a proper spring- to smell the intoxicating breeze bearing the mingled scents of a hundred different flowers, to watch them come to blooming life from their dormant beauty as buds; to watch a light rain fall soundlessly and unimprison the primitive fragrances locked in the soil. I want to indulge my senses, feel everything that is natural and beautiful at once.

No matter how powerful humans claim to be, I feel Nature is more about the plants, the animals, the sky, the wind and the sea. They were here long before we were. They have a strong relationship, and speak one another's language. We belong to this wonderful community, of course, but our ignorance keeps us away. There are certain moments, however, when Nature calls upon us with force, asking us to be a part of the happy celebration of life and beauty. Perhaps we interpret these signals in our own individual ways. My channel is the rain.

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