Storytelling 

It’s 8 degrees here in Sierra Nevada and I’m shivering in bed, unable to sleep. Perhaps it’s the cold; perhaps it’s the 4-hour long siesta I had in the afternoon. Either way, my brain is producing words faster than I can comprehend. So write, I shall.

But where do I start?

As I sift through the pictures on my phone to find a good story to narrate, I come across three interesting ones I took in the evening today.

Wondering why they’re interesting?

OK, let’s go back to my school days, especially the geography lessons I was taught. Hidden amongst the whole lot of text, I remember studying about how geography changes from place to place. The biggest notable factor for this is weather. And by just looking around, you can see the tell tale signs of the weather patterns expected in the area around you.

Notice the sloping roofs, the covered garbage can and the thick cone-shaped shrubs.

Can you guess what these point towards?

Here’s how the landscape looks like, if you want some more help:

Answer: Snow!

The sloping roof helps the snow to fall down to the ground and not accumulate much on the roof. The shrubs need to be thick to withstand the cold weather and be cone-shaped to shed snow. And well, the garbage can needs protection too. Else, it would be overflowing with snow and not garbage. Of course, there’s also the danger of the snow water and moisture degrading the garbage. Hence the cover, one that slopes too!

Had it been a rainy area, sloping roofs could have been replaced by efficient plumbing that gathers the water from the rooftop and takes it to the ground. But that can’t be the solution for snow. Hence the slope.

Even the vegetation in the area show all the signs of being in a snowy place.

And it’s amazing that my education enabled me to observe these facets of nature. To the curious, even a meagre education can work wonders.

So all those who crib about the uselessness of the subjects in school, reconsider. Our education, at best, imbibes in us the art of scientific thinking. Yes, I call it an art because science helps me look at how artful nature and life is.

It feels like everything around us is telling its story. Like this worm that ate the small leaf, but left the veins exposed.

Or these trees that announce the change in the sun’s direction of movement—the reds and yellows narrating the story of the change in seasons. 

Of course, it’s not yet autumn in Granada, where these flowers continue to bloom in full rigor. 

Or notice how this harmless snail wants to be left alone, contemplating it’s own existence. It’s shell, thus, a beautiful match with its surroundings. 

And then, you marvel at the beautiful creations around us; at nature’s perfection:

Just like the snail with its perfect Spiral, the goat manages to blend seamlessly in the background. 

I’m lucky. I’ve been blessed with teachers who helped me see that science is nothing but a language that equips you to see the stories being told around you, stories by every living organism or even a supposedly non-living object (like the flysch as below). 

And I’m lucky to appreciate at least some of the myriad stories around us. 

If you only open your eyes, ears, nose, and other senses!

Bonus pictures: This gorgeous sunset in Sierra Nevada, when the drowning sun played hide and seek with the clouds. 

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Call me racist

I can’t help it. I love it when they’re light in colour. Call them fair or anything you want, but I can unabashedly say that I prefer that over their darker, brownish counterparts.

And before you take up arms to write me down in the comments section, let me clarify. I’m talking about the water.

There’s just something about a blue-green ocean that calls out to me. Like Moana. Especially if there’s the vivid green of a grass or a set of trees to contradict the blues of the sky and the water. 

I mean who can deny the attraction to this:

Or this:

Or for that matter, this. The island in the middle just makes it all the more moving. 

Naturally, I’ve been sitting here for god-knows how long while the sun plays hide and seek with the clouds, leaving me alone with the incessant waves for company. But I’m alright. I find that time moves a little more invisibly when you’re near the shore. It feels like time rides the waves. Initially, you’re aware of each wave that lashes at the rocks near the shore. But then, over time, one wave seamlessly merges into the next one, giving enough space for time to pass away, hidden from your consciousness. Of course, it could also be that you’re simply lost in the way the green water slowly and steadily turns blue, the transition stretching all the way to the distant horizon. 

That I love it would be an understatement. I’ve come to accept wholly that I’m a water bum. Funnily, it wasn’t until a friend pointed it out that I realised my penchant for water. Yet, I find it hard to answer the ‘beach versus mountain terrain’ question. Why do they have to be mutually exclusive? Give me a mountain beside a sea, and I’d gladly spend my days staring out at nothing. 

Note, how I’m avoiding phrases like ‘forever’ or ‘spend my whole life there’. That’s a conscious choice. For what I love, I love it and live it today. Only today. But I can’t say if it’s what I want forever. The weight of a lifetime is not something I can carry. Nor do I want to. 

Time couldn’t even last long enough for the beach and the island to be together. They had to be separated, each craving for the other… Waiting for the day when the ocean will devour the last few rocks in the island and the beach, for them to be lost in eternity—but together, at last. 

But enough musings for this poor bench. The earth’s gravity is calling out to the liquid building within me! 😛 

P. S. Location is San Sebastian, Spain

Bonus pictures:

Sound of Love

There are two halves to the one whole of a plant’s growth. 

Similarly, there can be two parts of love.

Have you ever planted seeds or a sapling and see it grow? Initially, the roots form. They grow underground, unseen and silent. Bidding its time. And then, when the roots have gotten hold, the stems, leaves, fruits and flowers flourish. Slowly, steadily. Its loud, in your face and well, communicates to the whole world that ‘I am growing; I am flourishing’.
There are two halves to the one whole of a plant’s growth. 

Similarly, there can be two parts of love.

One is loud and deafening in its sound. It’s when you feel like your heart is expanding at a rapid pace, and will soon burst out of your body to envelope the whole world. It’s when you want to climb to the rooftop and shout to the whole world about the love you’re feeling. Your body, mind and soul screams and demands a witness to your Love. 

This is akin to the stems and branches of the trees that you are trying to reach the sky, continuously, constantly. The branches of your Love want to spread far and wide, taping into different fields and regions. And then the fiery flowers bloom to attract every eye that passes by. Like the Flame of the Forest, commonly known as Gulmohar in India or the Flame Tree. Scientists, in their usual grave tenor, call it the Royal Poinciana. Irrespective of what you call it, the vibrant vivid hues catch your attention and often take your breath away. Just like your intense feelings take your lovers breath away. The emotions move outward, from you to the world.

And then there’s the quiet love, silent and contemplative. Internal. Deep. It’s like the roots that spread wide and deep within. 

This is when you quietly stand on the sidelines of your lover’s story, witness to their beauty and well, life. When you let them be the hero of their story, beaming and happy. It’s when you bask in vibrant rays of their joys and happiness, all the while glowing in joy yourself. It’s when you find happiness and contentment in their peace. And nothing else really matters—not as much as your lover any way. This Love, like the roots, does not seek to shout or even intimate you of its presence. It just wishes to live, to be. And the flow of emotion? Well, it starts from you and flows deeper and deeper, slowly spreading through the veins and sinking further into your soul.

I hardly doubt that the two Loves exist separately. They’re part of the same whole. And the chances are, at different points in life, you’re likely to have felt both. 

Bah, that’s just life!

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On a dark cloudy day,
We stepped towards the mountain peak,
With each step, the clouds neared,
Threatening us with a downpour.
But she was adamant,
Punny nature! bend to her, it will.
And so with cheeks, red and animated,
She inched towards her goal.
For what, I knew now,
I only accompanied for curiosity’s sake.
For she was beauty personified,
Not in terms of figure, face or skin,
But something in her air, something beyond words,
And her eyes! Boy, with untold secrets,
Did they shine and dance.
No, curiosity bade me, “Go with her”
“I need to know,” it said.
She smiled at me, as if she knew,
But on she went, in tormenting silence.
To the mountain we reached,
panting, sighing, ooh-and-aahing.
I then looked at her curiously,
to find answers to her mystery.
She laughed at the sky,
Joy and mirth filling her high.
Confused, “Why,” I asked.
“Why ever not,” she said.
“Rain, risk and dark,” I said.
“Bah, that’s but life,” she quipped,
And after the clouds, merrily ran,
While I looked on, stunned.

Lost and found

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As the snowy mountains spectate on,
The wind chips at the bricks;
Erodes the walls built around me.
The cold turns the scabs of wounds into ice;
Then the blinding sun melts it all,
And off it goes to join the waters young.
The sea washes my feet, and takes away my fears,
And I finally let go;
Let go of my inhibitions, and my tears.
I jump onto a cloud, feel the wind in my hair;
Exposed to the elements, one with peace and nature.
As I travel, I find pieces of me
In places of wonder and marvel.
Lost as I was, I am finally found again.

Near Time’s still waters

On a bright blue day,

I see time fly.

Reflected on the river’s shiny waters,

Onto my eye.

Scoop into my hands,

I hold my past,

A memorabilia, a proof,

Of times when I had a life.

Still as time, the water flows,

In it, I see me change, I see me grow.

Overhead, the flowers bloom and dry,

First pale, and then green, the leaves turn.

The roots inch towards me,

As if to cajole and caress,

To break me out of my reverie,

To shake the calmness, put away the misery.

Spring turns autumn, and then winter springs,

Unmoving I lay, with time, in sync.

I move, I change; I flow with the waters

Yet on the banks, I consummate my marriage with Hindsight.

The roots finally pull me out

And tuck me under their wings,

Blindfolded, in its shadowy night

A green crow amidst the greens, my sole witness.

Opened, I did, my mouth

I croaked, but the crow spoke

Lifted its wing, and pointed at the red sun

And the black moon, it was hiding behind.

Cried, the white clouds and thundered,

Cried, they, for their black peers, and the fair maid.

The thunder, poignantly sweet to my ears,

A tear rolled and rippled the clean waters.

I woke up, Nostalgia lay beside me,

Unmoving in death, lifeless and unseeing.

With a beating heart, that Hindsight broke.

Time was the catalyst, the perpetual villain of yore.

I blinked, another drop rippled the water

The moon turned red, the sun welcomed the dark

I blinked, the crow flew into the clouds, white,

The roots cleared, and shone blinding yellow light.