Reading Time: 8 minutes
We accidentally moved to a location, several years ago, which is surrounded by beautiful hills. The hills are rolling, energetically powerful with many lore about it, and it wouldn’t be totally inappropriate to say, we don’t have a backyard, we simply have a back-hill. Every morning after I wake up, I usually remember to see the sun rise on the east, take a turn, fill some drinking water in the generous Ikea cup, and look out to the hills on the west, to see how magnificent they stand, tree-covered, canopied by randomly strolling clouds, and simply staring back with a smirk. They just seem to be there, although I know for a fact, they’re very organic and growing. Its a pleasure to have that few minutes of silent conversation with them every morning, while I consume the water, getting ready for the daily chores. It is also reassuring that they’ll be there the next day, and day after too, to continue this quiet romance, without much fuss on why I’m late, or whether I bought any gifts, or if I’m not paying sufficient attention to them, or I’m not romantic enough etc.
The point I’m trying to make is, the hills aren’t inanimate as normally understood, they’re alive, communicating, and are available to connect anytime, don’t expect much, and provide a daily assurance of their presence, which is quite remarkable and soothing.
When we moved here some eight years ago, we also planted saplings of various flower and fruit bearing plants, including Avocado, banana, pomegranate, sapota, guava, bougainvillea, hibiscus and some local varieties, which are all growing nicely now, providing shade, greenery, clean air and beauty to the area. It has been a remarkable journey of observing them closely, and I can claim that I have established a relation with them, where we enjoy each other’s presence, without having a need to talk about our individual problems. Strangely, I don’t tend to them often, except when I intuitively hear their call of being thirsty. It is very rare that I’ve let them stay dry without being watered for a long time, as somewhere deep within my psyche, they express their thirst, after adequate waiting, and I heed to that soft and gentle call with an immediate response. When they were little, I used to water them using a watering can, but now, as they all stand taller, firmly rooted, we’ve moved on to water them with a hose. I get this distinct feeling that they love this act of being offered water, partly because they’re thirsty, but partly also because they’re quite aware, they cannot walk far, and express their gratitude with that peaceful nod of approval when I pass them by. I also don’t know if you, the reader, has ever spent substantial time in a tropical country, but the heat is usually strong and I personally prefer not drying myself completely after a shower. It leaves me with some residual moisture over the body, which provides a relaxed and cooling effect, which is much appreciated! I feel when the plants are mulched properly with some organic material, like dry leaves, they similarly feel a relaxed and cooling effect, as the moisture gets retained under the layer of mulch. I’ve often felt this chemistry between the plants and me, and as hard as it is to describe, it is very vivid, and I cannot even claim that I’m any strong tender or lover of plants, except when it comes to harvesting the fruits and herbs from them.
Over the years, because of the denser and safer habitat, we get occasional crawlers like a rat snake, scorpion, lizards and many variety of birds in the area, who sing their tunes in the mornings, and the feathered peacocks don’t seem to mind strolling around the area, unbothered by our presence. Little do they know, it is our pleasure and pride that they’ve chosen to visit us, and feel safe living amongst us. Admittedly, they eat up all the arugula and basil leaves before we can harvest, and there is this unwritten tug of war on who can make it first to harvest the herbs. The cottages in the area, are also nestled amongst one of the finest trees, from the palm family, the coconut tree. Its an amazing design, where pretty much every part of the tree can be used for something, either edible or decoration or some other utility. The tender coconut water is just out of the world, although, we still haven’t managed to figure out how to harvest the coconuts without having to climb the tree, and usually drink it during our evening walks from the local vendor.
I have learnt many things from this organic and rather intimate affair with the hills, plants and birds over time. The significant lesson I’ve learnt is, that we really need not care about each other as much, to be in an intimate relationship. Perhaps, I should elaborate! I really do care that the hills, plants and birds sustain and live well, and also realize that my clandestine affair with them can only continue if they exist. So, in that manner, I do care for them. But I am prudent enough to also realize that they sustain based on some grander interconnected universal laws and movements, which I am not aware of, and I’m beginning to get a very good feeling that even I’m sustaining based on some grander laws which are unclear to me, which has an enormous influence upon me, beyond the monstrous effort I put to sustain on my own, based on the limited understanding of existence.
My connection with all these species is platonic, silent, intimate and its quality cannot be measured, and as such is intangible, cannot be qualified or romanticized. But, based upon my personal experience, I can easily say that they feel equally touched by my presence, as I am by their’s.
Its a mutual affair, where we do not bother each other with mundane matters of individual survival, and instead connect with each other, without any intent of seeking pleasure or profit from each other. In that sense, it can either be considered as a pure or a lame relationship, depending on how we choose to look at it.
The point to all these blabbering is that if we wish, we can create an organic relationship with many things around us and it is not necessary to be depending on fellow human species only. Not that, the fellow humans are inorganic or cannot be friendly, its just that there is no need to restrict ourselves to one single species.
Also, the quality of relationship with other species, once established, is remarkably quiet, because the noisy verbal chatter and pretense, is suddenly removed from the equation, which in general is a big barrier when it comes to connecting with fellow human species.
One of the biggest problems that human relations have, is we feel dissatisfied with each other after some time, and we never wonder what the root cause of such feelings could be. We feel disconnected and incomplete in many ways, and with that baggage, we embark upon wanting to connect with fellow humans, without really realizing that no one can fulfill or complete us by their physical presence. It seems like a daunting and unrealistic idea, which cannot find fruition, simply because we are trying to fulfill our physical or mental needs of feeling incomplete, by making use of other fellow humans who themselves have similar needs, and thus everything leads to a comical stagnation or pretentious status quo.
I find a distinct sense of involvement, togetherness and intimacy in silence, beholding, walking and really do not care much about the feelings of incompleteness or lack of fulfillment which lingers in my psychological scape.
I am in no ways suggesting that humans should not have physical or mental needs, because I don’t think that is possible. Although, my experiments with other species do reveal to me that giving unrealistic attention and importance to cultivated feelings of incompleteness, is perhaps the primary reason we have violent streaks in human affairs. As long as our affairs are rooted in trying to feel complete by using others, there is no scope but to remain subtly violent. But if we recognize this fact, and understand that we can intimately connect at other subtler levels, not only with fellow human species, but pretty much everything around us, there is a sudden sense of freedom, and all our petty attempts of finding fulfillment seems insignificant, futile and silly. I also think, these experiments and realizations cannot be conceptualized and everyone has to figure out the truth behind it on their own. To that effect, I would not suggest anyone to accidentally move to a location surrounded by rolling hills, banana trees or flock of peacocks, but instead, wherever they’re, to simply observe their needs, without wanting to alter them, the struggles and compulsive behavior which it brings in wanting to satisfy those needs, and simultaneously plant some flowering plants in a pot, look up to the sky more often, feel the occasional breeze and warmth of the sun more often, go for walks in nature during the weekends or evenings, enjoy some home cooked meals prepared together etc. and I also feel it is really not necessary to domesticate a dog and bring them home either, unless of course, its a Labrador.
I think simply being aware of our compulsive needs, clubbed with being conscious of our movements amongst all species, without altering anything, can bring us towards relations, which need not be fulfilling, but can be very intimate.
Perhaps, this could be the missing link towards having a peaceful individual and a harmonious world, where we’re not ceaselessly working towards the build up for the next war!