We have arrived at an interesting midpoint. Up to now, we have been racing around in cities, assaulted by the sights, the sounds, the smells. It has been chaotic and fast and fractured….the kind of experience in which you soar through, around, over; you let the sensations plaster you; you absorb them with more consciousness later, in solitude, or in thoughtful conversation.

We left Jaipur, and now we are in Nimaj, a place that is quiet, rural. We are staying at a tented camp on the banks of a reservoir. There is just as much to see and hear and smell, but we have to slow down to take it in. We have time for stars, and for sunrises. We have time to watch the smokey mist drift over the water.

We go for a long walk, carrying our binoculars, to admire the bird life that has congregated along the shores of a dam. The place is teeming with cranes, storks, peacocks, woodpeckers,ducks, geese--and antelopes. As we are watching the birds, it strikes me that, as in all slow love moments, you have to focus in the instant, or you miss it. A fort does not fly away, but a laughing dove will. You absorb in the moment.

I like to have a life of both kinds of experiences. In nature, I’m called upon to absorb in the quiet, pensive moment. In a city, I am bombarded by sensation--and it often does feel like a physical assault, to the point that I have to shut down a bit to defend myself against so much stimulation coming it, whether it is beautiful or ugly. I flash on moments of beauty, or horror. I often store those city memories, knowing that later I will unpack them, and ponder them.

I have been longing to see an owl for years. I hear them all the time, both in New York City and in Rhode Island. Others swear they've had sightings; I never do. My bird seems to be the hawk--no end to seeing them. Wouldn't you know it--I come to India, and finally...This sleepy fellow popped out of a hole in a wall, to investigate the yowling serenade of the resident cat in heat.


Pamela Terry and Edward said...

An owl is, I always feel, such a marvelous omen. I have them in my back garden, great horned owls, and it's like living inside a fairy tale to hear them hooting in the darkness outside my window. How wonderful this one said hello on your trip.

Ashling said...

How perfect you were finally blessed by an owl. Perhaps it's a 'reward' for the exquisite appreciation of India you've experienced--and so richly shared. Although friends have visited India, none have shared the soul and spirit as you have. Thank you.

Thea said...

look how far you traveled to see your owl!

Rose said...

I, too, have long wanted to see an owl. Thank you.

Holly said...

The owl is beautiful. There is something magical about these birds.

Anita Singh Soin said...

In India, we believe in synchronicity. As Deepak Chopra says there are no coincidences and everything is pre ordained. Dominique, we brought you here to see your owl !