You can find love in places that you can’t in people. A broken estuary or a canopy of trees will seldom disappear hastily from your life. When they gradually do, they are replaced in ways you may not even miss them.
Wet grassy knolls, filled with butterflies and bee-eaters, might turn into muddy breasts – with falcons circling the roundest cobblestones. A waterfall, angrily frothing from its mouth, might one day decide to dry up and leave the poetry to the stars bathed in crepuscular light.
I have fallen in love with many strange and beautiful places in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. From misty mountaintops and abandoned bridges to pygmy waterfalls and secrets meadows. A field of sunflowers. A cottage with a rainforest for a garden. A river without a name.
Whenever I am in the wild, privy to the plot of nature and drenched in her vastness and splendor, I turn into a mute spectator. Intoxicated and smitten. A little frightened at the possibility of sudden contentment. And very excited to briefly escape the drudgery of urban landscapes.
Gloriously confused and glowingly positive about the speck of land in the universe that I was born into. Oblivious to all the gnarly dangers out there in the wild yet curious about every sign of breathing life, hoofed, winged or scurrying furiously out of sight.
But nature is neither an attractive lover nor a devoted mother. She may not even be a woman.
For me, nature is a four-legged mammal. A crested raptor. A crimson butterfly. A tapeworm squirming through our insides. A blade of grass. Bird poop. The cool summer breeze. A tsunami wave. A pine tree. Moonlit nights. Rainy afternoons. A force to reckon with. The cognitive reason why we are able to breathe.
Light. Darkness. Everything that was here before, and all that will survive long after we are gone.
I don’t think that traveling is a crucial life hack for everyone. I feel odd even glorifying it because we could be contributing so much more to nature instead. We ignore an ecosystem that desperately needs us to intervene on its behalf to facetiously find purpose and meaning in our own lives.
But it’s a beautiful burden to bear.
Even though traveling may not be for you, you should try it out anyway. Find out for yourself. You just might discover a new reason to wake up in the morning, excited that you are still alive.
You can’t put
with someone else’s
broken pieces, but
you can walk uphill
until you find a spot,
safe and warm, to untie
(Photographs: Anjaveedu, Manamannur & Berijam – Kodaikanal, Vagamon & Gavi – Idukki, Megamalai, Yercaud, Chittoor)