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Friday, October 29, 2010

A Picnic

Yesterday my dad took us (the family) for a swim in a nearby waterfall.  After more than 20 years of going back and forth to this place and living here for the past 5 years, I can't believe it's the first time we've see this gem.

We walked through rice fields:

By the river and sometimes, through the river:
 It was so beautiful all the way that we could've stopped and had our picnic in almost any of the spots.  But it was a bigger treat to walk a little further (I love hiking and walking) until we reached this:

Unfortunately, the only camera I had on hand was my cell phone's camera.  So my photos don't do justice to the real beauty of the place.  Besides, there were so many things to see during our hour-long hike, and I needed to focus on what I was stepping on and what I was going to step on next to avoid any accidents.  That aside, nature is truly amazing.

We spent almost the whole morning and a bit of the afternoon hiking, stopping for swims when we felt too hot, and just enjoying our time outdoors.  I've been living by the beach for several years now, so walking through the beautiful, lush forest and by the soothing water was a whole different flavor that I haven't experienced for a while. Besides, all the other waterfalls I've gone to were in the mountains thousands of feet above sea level.  The scenery was completely different.  Pine trees, regular high-land wild flowers and the like.  In those places, the water was so cold that it's not possible to stay in it for very long or your hands and feet start going numb and you get pins all over. But here, surrounded by mountains of tropical forests- where the palm trees grow in groves, or huge banyan trees seem to have either grown out of rocks, then through time, grown over and all around huge boulders, the water is as perfect as can be.  It's cold in some parts, but the sun and rocks are there when you need some warmth.  

After our walk, I was thinking about how good I felt.  I hadn't felt that good in ages. I felt so alive, not even tired after all the hiking in the sun (it wasn't sunny all the way, thanks to the trees). 

My dad walked bare-foot most of the way. As a teenager he left the city and lived deep in the forests with indigenous people until his early twenties. As far as I can remember he's always looked back fondly at those years he spent in the forest. He says this place where the waterfall is reminds him very much of those places he stayed in (the little hut he stayed in was just on the river bank) years ago.  When we were kids, he'd always take us on hikes. I remember how he'd put me on his shoulders (when I was younger) or carry me piggy back when I'd get too tired during walks. Then as we got older, he'd bring us to more challenging hikes that took several hours to complete.  Yesterday was another one of those memories to put aside and treasure. 

It's terrible to think of how the "modern person" can live their whole life in a cement and metal box, surrounded by so much noise, breathing either artificial or polluted air, and counting a day in the mall as relaxation or somehow a wonderful family outing.  Get outdoors.  Nature nurtures.  Learn to walk again, not on cemented pathways or straight cut wood, but on the soft, cool earth and on the uneven rocks.  Breathe the air that's fresh and alive.  See how beautiful real trees are and feel the wind against your face. Go into nature and live again. 

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