Tuesday, August 26, 2008

On nature and things!

When you watch a movie for the first time, you are naturally consumed in the story. But this one touched me like no other. The meanings in it were thought provoking and as I watched it for the second time a year later, I was wrapped in those inspiring thoughts rather than what was taking place. Cast Away is the well known movie of a sole survivor from a plane crash who ended up on a distant island and had to endure the elements and simply stay alive. To us, the privileged ones who live in cities, with on-call electricity, running water and endless high-tech gismos, that would be hell on earth. I remember that when my sister once went to a safari in Africa and told me about the living conditions she would go through there, I told her right then and there that that would be my worst nightmare. Or is it? Well, this is not what this summer taught me. But I will come to that later.

Back to the movie cause it was a wake-up call for all the things that we take for granted. You need only to watch how long it took and agonizing it was to light a single fire, to realize what that means to a man in that situation. You are actually taken aback by his roaring and wild dancing around the bonfire he kept hailing! It is like he was stripped bare from all the layers that living in a society puts on us and became free and simply human. It is that spark of humanity that made him long for companionship to the point that he took a volleyball, that landed among the boxes with him, as a friend and named it “Wilson” after drawing its features with his own blood. He would talk to that ball rain or shine and have it go through it all with him. He even mourned when he lost it in his attempt to escape the island and sobbing aloud and ended up letting go of the paddles since losing “Wilson” could to many of us mean losing it all! Yes, it is those “Wilsons” in our lives, or our loved ones if you wish, that help us identify who we are and with whom happiness and sharing gain a new meaning every time. Yet, it is a Higher Sublime Mercy that picks us up when we fall and lends us a hand to stand on our feet again just like our hero was saved right after losing Wilson!

Having him rescued could have been a good end to that story. But, no. It is the sharp contrast that shocks you between what used to be his ordinary life in the city and that on the island. The man now in a cold dark blue navy shirt and a dull brown jacket, surrounded by grey walls, not talking much and walking slowly trying to take in that new ambience, was the very same man alive and vibrant on that island. Barely covered in rags, with tanned limbs and sun-damaged face, with long messy hair and beard, hunting with accuracy and eating raw fish! Now in the city, no one even noticed the lighter that would create the fire he almost died for. Loads of food lay there on the table in front of him. A fuzz of noise and people surrounded him. A soft cozy bed was waiting for him that he neglected and slept on the floor instead. How many blessings do we bask in day in and out and never even pay attention to!

I am amazed how this summer has changed me. When I watched that movie the first time, I did with agony for the hero’s ordeal. It is remarkable how I now consider the time on that island as the real pleasure. Imagine sleeping with stars as your company and the ocean humming its soothing lullaby. Imagine the endless turquoise water, the luscious trees and the cuddling sand. Nature was created to amply provide for and take care of us. It is not to be feared at all if you take the time to listen to it and get rid of the limiting mind frames of the city’s abundant restrictions. I left work and worries behind in my trip to the mountains this summer. I blocked out annoying inside and outside voices and surrendered to that new world. I closed my eyes and breathed in the cool fresh mountain air. Every whiff early in the morning filled me with joy and pure pleasure. I basked my bare face in the warm sun and got my arms out of the car’s window welcoming that beauty. The wind that sneaked into my long sleeves thrilled me. I let my imagination loose contemplating the shapes on the tops of the rocky mountains and the faces my mind’s eye saw there were watching me go by and kept smiling back at me. And on and on came the images. The violent rush of water in the falls. The soft mist that stood there right above it. The canyon walls that could never be solid enough to stop each drop of water from carving its own story as it went down the falls. The wild animals that crossed the streets in a mellow manner and ate wild berries paying no attention to the human beings standing in awe and taking pictures of their magnificence. The placid lake embraced by a guarding mountain in the background and adored by its surroundings. The cold water in the stream that called me to step on its rocks and hail the splashes that came my way. I collected little colorful rocks in all shapes just like little kids do. I sat on the shore of the lakes enveloped in the tranquility and in harmony with my atmosphere that I wanted nothing else but to remain there for the rest of my life. It was my very first time to actually welcome the outdoors and discover that side in me; the free spirit and spontaneous demeanor.