The last post came from an enchanted elephant encounter in Bangalore. From there I headed into the mountains and my first Indian hill station of Ooty. The bus ride into the mountains was thrilling, the change of climate the hanging mists. Hills are home to me, with their forests, their fresh forests and expanse of sky-land. I landed in the bus station and went straight to the YWCA – and then realised what the W stands for in that acronym – but luckily they let me in. Happy to be in cooler climate I set out into the town and had a brief encounter with hand-made road-side chocolate… 4 hours later the familiar yet dread-filled rumble started down below and I spent most of the night running back and forth from my dorm, up the hill to the toilet block, with a fair few flower bed pit stops on the way – but several weeks later it’s always surprising how much merriment these experiences bring when recounting to friends…
Unfortunately the 2 days spent in bed in Ooty meant no more pachyderm pursuits in Mudumalai National Reserve. It will be another time and place for walking with giants. I headed back to Bangalore via Mysore, and finally back to Mumbai in alternating foul and awe-struck moods. It was a time to reflect on the trip. I swing between the stand points of never-again-India and India-mother-of-miracles. In India – you can see it all – it’s all right in front of your eyes, ears, nose, fingertips and tongue. That’s why I get so overwhelmed there. The insanely frustrating omnipresent rubbish, the oppressive heat, boundless beauty, the infinite colour palette, the purity and filth, the vehicle horn cacophony and sublime music of bewitching voice and alien instruments, the fragrance and stink, the smiles and tears, the perversion, glory, cruelty and grace. No windows curtained or occurrence veiled. There are infinitely more ways of living in India that we can ever imagine. So at the end of the day I am left with my ideas and judgements which are pretty much limited and exclusive – there can never be rights and wrongs or good and bads – one of India’s largest lessons is this. Heart-opening is the recommended cure to Indian adventures and to embrace, change and flow in the rivers of the streets and lives of this unbelievable place.
This is a gallery of a few photos from various different places.
I have just put together a little video from my stay at Animal Aid here. I hope the soundtrack isn’t too cheesy for you. It brings so much back to me. Deep thanks to the animals, staff and the Abrams family for that precious gift and steadfast foundation for future kinship encounters.
This is a noble cause, so if you would like to make a donation or help in various ways, here are the details:
To sponsor an animal: http://www.animalaidunlimited.com/sponsor-an-animal/
To contribute to the centre’s wishlist: http://www.animalaidunlimited.com/wish-list/
Or to volunteer as I did: http://www.animalaidunlimited.com/volunteer/
It’s almost 3 weeks since I returned from India. It goes so fast. I was so relieved to come back to a climate that didn’t turn me into a zombie for most of the day. And so green and fresh the spring is here. I was back in the UK for a week and then went to Dublin for the first part of a super community project with Protein Dance. Dublin is a great city – beautiful – and we were there for the Dublin Dance Festival so there was a buzz in the air. I’d love to spend a bit more time in Ireland at some point.
So… from trans-species brokering back to dance… how do they fit together? Well – I guess their meeting place is somewhere inside me. I loved this week of dance – I felt gratitude and blessings – to move, dance, meet, laugh and be in intimate contact with communities and friends. Perhaps there’s more connections than at first glance. And it feels like one fuels the other. After this past week dancing in the streets, climbing lampposts, making funny moves and gathering people together, I am now thinking about my next trans-species adventure.
I had lunch yesterday with my good friend Charlotte in the blissful greenery of May in Greenwich. There were a blackbird couple hopping about in the undergrowth. The male had a broken lower beak, not that it bothered him at all, and the female and I held shared stare for a moment or two. My heart kind of swelled and chirped as I remembered my kinship with all life. I am changed. And that feeling is not dissimilar to how I feel when I am part of people coming together to move and dance, how I feel when I am sharing my moving self with the world.
The road is so so varied, and miraculously rich. I must not get carried away by what the destination might be, in order to appreciate each wonderful step. I am so lucky – that’s all I can say. Thanks to teachers, friends, family and the innumerable living beings that support my path.
Look out for the final gallery in the next post.
Thanks for reading