Passages leap out to me from the book, clearly articulating ideas that have bothered me, but for which I had yet to formulate the words; ideas like The Humility Sense.
Louv cites David Quammen’s “Monsters of God”, in which he predicted that by the year 2150, all the world’s top predators will either be wiped out or in zoos. Then people, will
“find it hard to conceive that those animals were once proud, dangerous, unpredictable, widespread and kingly.”
And suddenly I am transported back to the winter morning of 20th Dec 2011. I have risen early to watch the sun paint magic on Mount Kanchendzonga. Its beauty gives me a sense of place in the world and reminds me that there is a spiritual life force connecting all of nature. In foolish folly, I attempt to keep its lesson close to me; its image greets me each time I switch on my phone. As the sun continues to rise over the Himalayas, I walk to the Darjeeling Zoo. There, my morning magic falls flat in the face of domestic tourists from the lowland cities taunting the majestic but ultimately imprisoned animals. In a zoo, we may see these elusive animals but we don’t SEE them. From behind the metal bars, we have no sense of their potential, and therefore no humility in their presence.
Disgusted, I leave the zoo and head further down the road on that bright winter morning toward the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, where this Himalayan Inspiration restores some measure of peace:
“By inspiring those that come to them with all their traditions in Indian history and culture, humbling them with their vastness and power, satisfying them with their grandeur, trying their manhood with their glaciers and peaks, challenging their spirits with their inviolate secrets and showing that God exists not only in the beauty of his creations in Nature but also in the spontaneously noble actions of their companions, the Himalayas will forge men who, when they come back to everyday life, will do so with a changed perspective, ignoring all the petty, trivial and unimportant things that normally take so much of their energy and time and concentrating on problems that really matter.”- N.D. Jayal