Far away, beyond the green paddy fields
Beyond the thatched huts and palm tops
A hazy gray blending into darker black
Touching the shimmering white clouds
Mountains stand like sentinels.
It has been raining here; the leaves
Underfoot bear my weight in silence.
I pause – leeches, wriggling, reach out
And clamber up my legs; a flutter in the woods –
A bird? A boar? A deer? Who is it that I disturbed?
In the deep forests, everything is dark and moist.
Steam unfurls in the scattering sunlight.
Silently, I watch – across the ridge, a rock shifts –
In awe, with love, oh with so much love, a tusker in sight.
Above my head, Minivets, Scarlet, like flashes of fire.
The soil is black and squidgy; little puddles filled to the brim
Overflow and jump merrily to join a run, running down
Over the stones, tickling the grass, past a meditating frog.
A Pipit hops; skips past a Wagtail.
Bush Chats dart in and out of the trees.
From afar – or is it nearby, a Sambar coughs.
Suddenly, a tree sways overhead –
The forest is filled with calls of the Squirrel –
Giant of Malabar, king of the treetops.
Flycatchers twitter in the bush.
Past the woods, amidst the grass
Gusts of wind hit me, old friends hugging
And roughing up my hair;
From the next hill
A lone Tahr looks askance-
Where you been all these days?
Hills beckon; Sholas raise gnarled and knotted hands.
Mist, tender, comes up slowly, enwrapping me with love.
I am home.
********* Balachandran V email@example.com