I don’t have a lot of friends. But the handful of badasses I know are kind, thoughtful, and intelligent. Perhaps, one of the most exciting things in my life is our conversations. Since I am a small-talk hater, I am a sucker for our discussions, which are funny, deep, enlightening, and intoxicating.
When I was talking to a friend about my cycle rides, she asked me, “Do you see flowers on your ride?” I read her message again, for I couldn’t believe that I was asked such a question. Nobody has posed that kind of a beautiful question. Ever. I told her, “I haven’t seen lovely flowers in Chennai.” She asked modestly, “Is there a flower that’s not lovely?” I don’t know why she reminded me of Luna Lovegood, but I loved her question. I told her I always see dogs. Lazy dogs. Sleepy dogs. Crazy dogs. Naughty dogs. Happy dogs. Dogs. Dogs. Dogs. She smiled. But I told myself then that I should start paying attention. Maybe that’s the panacea I was after.
This Luna-Lovegood-friend of mine wondered if I would enjoy writing a blog about things I see during my walks and cycle rides. I was a wee bit skeptical about my eye for all things beautiful. However, she has wordlessly taught me that extraordinary beauty lies in things that we see everyday, and that one just has to take a moment to observe.
All my life, I didn’t notice flowers. For reasons I can’t fathom, I didn’t appreciate them. But after our conversation, I see their vibrant colours. Their carefree dance to the tunes of zephyr. Their subtlety. Their good spirits.
I don’t know their names yet. I want to believe that I will get there soon.
For the last few weeks, I have been trying to see the sunrise or the sunset every day. I have come to trust that watching the sun is some sort of a simple meditation. During those few minutes, the present becomes longer and sheds its weight, the past escapes the memory, and the future waits like an obedient beast at the threshold.
On several evenings, I sat on a stonebench, and watched the star turn pink, as it applied ethereal colours in delicate strokes on its blue canvas. I felt… alive.
If one starts observing people, do they bask in the attention, and seem more friendly? I have been seeing smiling people. So many. People walking their dogs. People playing cricket on the lawn, and hurling swear words at each other in a friendly manner. People indulging in banter. People relishing cone ice cream. People lying supine on lawn and daydreaming (maybe). People lost in thoughts. People who are old and infectiously energetic. People who try to read the title of the book I read. People who smile brightly when they see me ride a bicycle. Smiling people. Sulking people. All of them, strangely beautiful.
This friend of mine also asked if I saw an ant recently. My answer was negative. She wondered if I would love to notice one. And, and, it took almost a month for me to find one. But, when I bumped into that tiny rascal a couple of days ago, I pumped my fist in the air and went, “Woohoo!” I am attaching no sarcasm to the confession that I am going to make now. Finding an ant offered an incredible sense of accomplishment. Maybe, life’s meaning boils down to unassuming moments like that.
All this while, discovering beauty seemed a quest. I am now beginning to realise that it’s like looking for a milestone. It feels amazing to nod at them as I travel, as the horizon stretches, and as life unfolds. They nurse the wounds, nourish the soul.
the past to go away, I wanted
to leave it, like another country; I wanted
my life to close, and open
like a hinge, like a wing, like the part of the song
where it falls
down over the rocks: an explosion, a discovery;
to hurry into the work of my life; I wanted to know,
whoever I was, I was
for a little while.”
— Mary Oliver