25th of March for the first time we at Lumiere are collaborating with Red Soil Nature Play as they organize a camp for children aged 3 to 14 yrs.
Even though all we are doing is running a stall I can’t help feeling a kind of giddy delight at the prospect of being where the little one are going to troop in and have a good time playing about in the mud.
Reminds me of the time we had little visitors at our Kotur farm that has now dwindled into a 2 acre oasis increasingly encircled by urban expansions.
The first time was a couple of years ago when a few from a nearby playschool were brought in for a visit. The moment they crossed the gate into this lush expanse of red earth and greenery they let out a gasp and then various sounds of pure delight.
While one rolled on the ground in immediate gleeful abandon, another made a beeline to a guava tree laden richly with fruit with friends in tow. A few ran to the cowshed and back while others attempted chasing the chickens.
Our farm keeper Baiju’s Pomeranian puppy was almost asphyxiated with madly affectionate hugs and slobbering kisses till it had to be literally rescued, much to the children’s disappointment, from such vigorous demonstrations of unbridled love.
Once they calmed down a bit they walked around running their hands over everything in rapt appreciation smelling various flowers and leaves that were pointed out to them. They were hungrily absorbing every color, every texture, every scent, every flavor and every sound with their entire beings.
Naturally, these are human children brought up not as the earthlings they are in body nor the sky dwellers we all are in the freedom of spirit.
In these unrelenting urbanscapes they are brought up as inhabitants of that strange in-between limbo land–the modern urban apartment where humans live in nuclear groups stacked one upon another and Nature is confined to a couple of pots in the balcony where the laundry also hangs out to dry.
This is nobody’s individual fault.
We could understand the almost mad initial exuberance of the children and also knew that soon they would calm down and stabilize.
The Call of Home is far too deeply embedded in the gene.
Earth has a way of grounding excess energies, of healing that which is out of sync and setting systems right effortlessly. The children playing out there are also the children hiding in each and every one of us right to the end of our lives calling out in playful exuberance that is more often than not , stifled and suppressed.
Bless these children from whom as the wise Indians said, we have borrowed this Earth.
Give us the vision, the patience and the strength, enough to return in mint condition and if possible with a little additional interest what they have so generously loaned us.