As I looked up from my sketch pad I could see two farmers walking to their machaan to escape the afternoon heat. I wondered what they were talking about as he positioned another cloth on the stilts to block out the sunlight. How long have they been together? Have they ever left their village? What do their kids think of them, will they become farmers too?
I closed my eyes and heard the summer breeze blowing through the thick teak woods. A Common Hoopoe flew by and perched itself on a low bush near the famers land. Cows and goats were grazing just a few feet in front of me. Earlier I watched monkeys from my porch picking insects off each other.
This small area of the world has taught me so much. Nature has taught me to listen. Safaris have taught me – everyday may be my last so try your very best. My work here has taught me to speak up. The naturalist taught me to not be embarrassed by silence. The Indian people as a whole have taught me it is a privilege to be alive. And the couple that are sitting before me have taught me sometimes love is the only legacy you may ever leave… and that’s perfectly o.k.
I take into noticed in that moment of time, millions of things are dying all around me, trees are decaying, leaves are falling, insects are getting squashed and tigers are catching prey. The legacy of animals and nature ends there. What makes humans different from wildlife is, our love which has the ability to spread long after we have passed. I close my eyes again and remind myself my own life isn’t so permanent.
As I pack up my things, I look up at the couple in the machaan, we exchange smiles and wave. My dream is beautiful but so is theirs.
In that one glance I think we both realized the simple life is always worth slowing down for.
Love others. Devote yourself to community. And lastly devote yourself to creating something that gives your life purpose.
Having a wild time in India. From the Library of Jamtara
** Machaan – these are set up in the middle of farms so farmers can scare off any wildlife that may be feeding on their lands during the night.