No One can take my Freedom Away
Nature has a its own rhythm. Things don’t just happen. There is a pattern and sense of time which we are yet to completely uncode. Day turns into night, spring turns into winter, life turns into death....and the wheel keeps turning round and round. The butterflies, the bees, the birds, the bark of the trees, the buds and the leaves......are completely in sync with it. Every year the peach and the litchi flower and fruit at the same time and to eat these fruits, come a host of very welcome guests!
There is no real routine at Second Chance House in Selim Hill. Apart from mealtimes, friends and family are welcome to plan their day as they want. We suggest they follow nature and be prudent about it. Sitting at the breakfast table with two delightful guests - Samantha and Wendy, we were talking about some of our other exotic visitors - the Hornbills. As summer ripens, these birds come in to please their palate. It was like describing the elephant to the ‘The Six Blind Men of Indostan’ (poem by John Godfrey Saxe). Whereby, no one had any real clue as to what the elephant actually looked like.
Lo and behold! As if on cue, completely out of nowhere, this huge creature glided in and sat on one of the elm trees. The Hornbill is as large as your largest travelling suitcase and yet it skates across the sky effortlessly. Its plumage seems to be out of the Vogue magazine - black and white in abundance and then a shock of yellow and orange at the neck and the bill.
It is not shy, it is not hiding, it is truly bold and beautiful! It owns the forest, it is the king of birds and it knows it. The Hornbill puts up a fashion show for us. It preens, flaunting its 3 feet long, black and white tail; catching the right angle of the sun, it twists its neck and lets the sun catch the gold on its large curved beak. The horn or helmet on top of its head resembles a smallish, hep hat worn by many fashionistas. Of course, we pay homage to this model of grace and power - the camera shutters click time and again!
The Hornbill is so complete and confident in its beauty that it does not aim to please anyone else - It does not fight to fit size zero, it has not practised its pout for the paparazzi, steeped in family values and loyalty, it does not feature on the scandal sheet, in fact it does not deign to touch the ground at all. It belongs to the skies.
Forced to introspect, it makes me wonder at all our self doubts - too tall, too fat, too loud, nose too long, eyes could be larger.....and then the hiding begins. The loud, gruff, honk or bark of the Hornbill inspires one to accept, nay celebrate oneself. Each one of us is unique and meant to be exactly the way we are. The love and respect has to come from inside and not outside!
The Hornbill is one of 10 birds that are the direct descendants of the Dinosaur. Proud in its lineage, it seems to sing to the world -
“ I am just a bird in the sky,
Over the mountains I fly,
No one can take my freedom away....”
Later, as Samantha, Wendy and I shared a pot of Dorje Green Tea with some mint, I thanked them for the lovely pictures and videos of the Horn bill that they had taken.
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