The Himalayas will draw your eye out, to gaze in wonder at the snow-capped peaks or the seemingly endless forests of deodar and pine. In March the Himalayan foothills in Kumaon are aflame with rhododendron in full bloom.
But the Himalayas will also draw your eye in. This land has a way of stopping your in your tracks with its beauty, with its divinity. And then it's got you! Then you look at those hills of blazing red rhododendron, and can’t help it, but are drawn to notice each individual blossom, each one like a flaming tongue singing some strange but holy song, speaking to your vision as you gaze in silent wonder like you were just robbed of your own tongue! The vastness of the Himalayas is amazing, but their intimacy is what makes you fall in love with them…This past November in Almora, standing on the roof of the monks’ quarters at Ramakrishna Kutir, I turned after taking snaps of the hills and snow peaks, to find this little one peacefully enjoying a sunbath. This one spoke of the Divine more clearly and eloquently than a thousand pundits with their holy books. I don’t know how long I was there, squatting next to my new-found friend, but I do know it was time well spent.
Dark pictures, thrones, the stones that pilgrims kiss
Poems that take a thousand years to die
But ape the immortality of this
Red label on a little butterfly.“
- Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977)