We had the time to climb trees and yes, there were trees to climb, fall from, skin our knees upon as we plucked the best of the season's wild fruits often from the highest canopies. Trees with convenient forks to sit and think in, some with obliging branches to practice gymnastics upon, Others with extra springy tensile boughs to turn into a tempest-tossed ship attacked by pirates...
There were the open commons to howl into or be silent in. And sometimes, in the growing years, with the strange new tumults of the heart, its nameless torments, the entwining limbs of some favorite tree or bramble became better refuge to weep upon than the shoulders of human friends who could, (god forbid!) laugh or mock at the inner storms of inexplicable feelings...
Our brick & mortar homes always came later when we returned to them afterwards feeling much better."
This past week, for some strange reason, I have been surrounded by live stories recounted by good friends from various quarters of the globe all sharing stories of the same sense of longing & belonging to Nature. Wistful remembrances of their moments with their particular favorite tree, a nook in wild gardens, a patch of upturned earth in some field that actually has a name that is known by and is still in living memory, flowing waters of some particular stretch of river or even irrigation canal...
And then suddenly one of these friends, with a strong traditional farming background and today also an active member of the Lumiere family, decided to do a volte face quite appropriately in the season of the Holy Resurrection - the three day Easter weekend.
As the great German playwright Bertolt Brecht, put it, our friend decided that instead of lamenting, as a migrant city dweller now, over the loss of the 'good old days' of his childhood, he'd much rather turn the 'bad new ones' on their head by actually taking his own little band of city dwelling kids on a live jaunt to what remains of the paradise of his childhood.
All these delightful images are taken there in what remains of their family homestead farm after real estate incursions in a rustic corner of Thrissur district in Kerala.This place is part of the famous kol paddy fields that extends naturally over expansive unbroken acres.During the monsoon, the torrential rains fill up and turn these into massive sea-like lakes teeming with varieties of fresh water fish, other aquatic life & migratory birds including Siberian cranes.
Look at them ! Look at the light in their faces! Wearing Jack leaf crowns stitched together with the slender stick like stem dividing coconut fronds broken into short needles, gazing naturally meditatively, squatting still, at the play of sun in the water, the older ones joyfully giving the younger ones rides to remember for a lifetime on a hand drawn sledge improvised from the fallen whole fronds of the Areca nut trees taking care to negotiate their way around stones, pits, pebbles & ant hills .
These pictures say a lot about what needs to be done. What we need to be doing as parents and grandparents hailing from a lucky generation where mingling daily with the living earth was a taken-for-granted thing:
Go! Move it !
Take a car, Catch a train, hop into a bus... Do whatever it takes to ensure at the very least ONE weekend or even a Dawn to Dusk break in some place where the Earth is free and You, the Kid in You & the Kids with You, all have a chance to roll around in wild abandon.
Go Scale a Mountain Descend a Valley Swim at a beach Pluck wild berries Smell flowers Climb a tree
Go Give your tired Body, jaded Spirit, battered Heart a chance to reconnect to its Original Power Source and it naturally effortlessly will do just that if you give it a chance. Take care of the Body Temple for therein dwells Love's connecting Spirit. Take care of the Spirit Temple often recharging it in its natural element for therein dwells the Deep Peace of Soul.
Ensure, while you are at the city that you eat food together as much as you can clustered lovingly around the table that is grown true to the free fair joyful principles of the Life Organic.