August 11, 2013

Cicadas in Coorg / on doing nothing

10 Aug: We’re staying at this far-away retreat in Coorg called Linger. Most mobile networks don’t work here, effectively placing it off-the-grid. The surroundings are just beautiful. The lush monsoon green of the water-filled paddy fields, an insane variety of plants and trees and insects, the music of birds and cicadas and pattering rain, and hills in the distance, fog rising off of them. It is magical, and the website of Linger encourages to just enjoy taking in all of this, to “do just nothing”.

When I first read “do just nothing”, it was an appealing idea – this thought that one is not going on a vacation to cross this & that off a list; that one can just slow down one’s pace and read, drink coffee, laze around in plantation chairs. And that bit has been very nice. I have loved being able to sit in the covered verandah or stand at the edge of the fields and look out at the green, the rain-pour, the buffaloes, the morning activity of the farmers. I have loved being able to in just a few steps find myself amidst a lushness & a welcome from the land almost unimaginable in Bangalore. And I have loved being able to walk on trails, on fallen leaves, on the red earth with nothing but the radiance of this part of the earth for company.

And yet. There is something about this philosophy of “do nothing” that is bothering me. This seems to be a tagline directed blatantly at the corporate/IT crowd of Bangalore that needs a break from its otherwise breakneck life by doing nothing. The idea of coming here to read and drink Kodagu coffee and do just nothing is meant to appeal to those who don’t have a chance to do so in their day-to-day life. And the objective is laudable. Everybody needs time to linger, to slow down, to just relax into being, to breathe. That this retreat provides the corporate/IT crowd the opportunity to do that is great.

And human beings need something beyond doing nothing, even and especially when we want to rejuvenate. Our indigenous selves need to create: we need engaged hearts, we need possibilities, & community as much as solitude with which to co-create. We need to do what will satisfy that skittish fire stirring in our soul. By making music or dancing or fire or vision-words or nourishment or magic or soul-love or revolutions. We need to feel we belong on this earth, in this cosmos – and in order to belong, we have to (re)create our belonging. We need to feel our feet dancing with the rain, our hair flying into the white sound of the rain, and that we are singing the rain just as the rain sings us.

And perhaps I have not been doing just nothing at Linger. In this lingering & allowing myself eyes-ears-feet-imaginings to dwell, I have been participating, I have been dreaming with nature, re-creating with it.

So this is what I am dreaming of today, sitting here in this verandah on this wooden bench with the rain song flying all around me. And it all started with me wishing that Linger had ambitions for us doing more than nothing. I wish you were here. 

1 comment:

  1. Beautifully written, and you actually captured what I tried to in the "do nothing" brilliantly. Indeed it's the participating, being with the busyness of nature that's all around, in being with the million things that the change of weather brings, and the breeze does, and doing none of those tidy, planned, organized ones we're usually wont to.

    Thanks for writing this. And of course, thanks for Lingering.