Tiny flowers blossoming through the cracks of neighborhood walls; dandelions thriving in the wilderness; water streams, making their way to a distant lake, shaping the terrain and sculpting the rocks on its path; trail of fallen leaves on that morning mountain hike; and the warmth of the afternoon sun on a cold wintry day—don’t they remind you of similar experiences and take you back to those seemingly little moments when you felt most happy and calm?
What are these beautiful things that make us so peaceful?
Is it the beauty or the simplicity?
And I realize, it is about how we look at the details ever-present in our surroundings and feel the energy they radiate. Just the way, one experiences that intense feeling, the oneness with the nature, when looking at the deep blue sky on a fine November morning.
At least, I do, quite often and perhaps, so does Ruskin Bond. His knack for turning trivial moments into beautiful memories that keeps appearing in his narratives and in his amusing way of looking at life. Simple and yet so perceptive. Each time I read his book, I feel like a child, awestruck by the presence of an effervescent life—insects, birds, flowers, trees, worms, bees, and rivers, mountains and deserts—pulsating each moment, giving meaning to our existence.
Ruskin Bond’s My Favourite Nature Stories brings back a flood of memories of yesteryear—chasing after butterflies, mimicking mynahs, splashing in the mud with joy, making paper boats for rain puddles and living every moment effortlessly. This book is an anthology of his childhood reminiscences; of birdsongs that he loved to wake up to and go to bed while listening to the symphony of cicadas and countless insects that would come alive every evening and play in a harmonious crescendo; of the river paths that he followed; of knowing about ferns and foliage of his surrounding forests; and of his favorite pastimes and things that he loved to do.
This book simplifies the way we look at the world, how often we tend to miss the simple things in our daily lives while looking for bigger accomplishments.
To find simplicity in this complex world, one must observe and acknowledge the presence of life, thriving and functioning, hidden from our attention and ignorance and sometimes, just from our plain sight.
Just look at the marching ants working in unison; tiny green buds sprouting from the earth; whistling thrush flitting around the trees; shape-shifting clouds gently vanishing; the scent of autumn flowers—can the nature get anymore seductive?
Which reminds me of these two writers, whose writings reflected a similar appreciation for the nature, for the mountains, with an astute awareness of the presence of life. Just like Ruskin Bond, both, Peter Matthiessen in Snow Leopard and Stephen Alter in Becoming a mountain, traveling on their separate journeys in search of something sacred, reveal the beautiful spectacles of the mother nature.
Image credite: Photo by Matthias Zomer from Pexels