Nature and its animals

We have monkeys here, and a few wild horses. We can hear birds with strange calls in the morning, including one that sounds like an alarm clock. At least to me.

And of course, the cows are everywhere.

But the most interesting and fun animal to see might be the bison. They are gigantic beasts, and while they look slothful, they are quite fast, can charge, and have been known to seriously injure people. But that doesn’t necessarily mean we should be afraid of them. If you run away, you are at risk of being charged. If you walk away, they won’t harm you. If you watch them, they will watch back. If you tease them or annoy them, you are putting yourself at risk.

A couple days ago I walked right up to one, not knowing it was there until my younger son pointed it out. He must not have been more than fifteen feet away from me. I just turned around and we went to town using a different route. The other morning while I slept my wife woke up to one in our front yard eating breakfast. Again, no more than fifteen feet away.

She took this video:

The best analogy I can make for folks back in the States is deer — they live in the woods around you, but you don’t see them as much as you do, say, squirrels, so it is a bit fascinating when you do.

My son Noah and I saw a family of five walk right by our front door this morning as well.

While we love the animals that come our way, sometimes we have to go their way when we want to see a view. Our view isn’t bad. Ketaki and I wake up in the early morning and have tea on our front porch. There is a near mountain we look at as we sip, and I wonder whether the distant mountain beside it is hidden by early morning fog, pollution, or a mix of both. We say a word here or there, but otherwise listen to the still morning.

And tell our loquacious children to go back inside.

What I have noticed during monsoon season is that, while it differs day-to-day, the general weather is clear skies in the morning, then the fog rolls in around 10-11, then it rolls out again a few hours later, giving way to rain.

So to see a view this time of year the best time to go is morning. This past Sunday we went to the vegetable market first, then went to this place called Dolphin’s Nose. It is a steep climb down rocks and large tree roots to get there, so it’s less like climbing down a dolphin head and more like climbing down Chewbacca’s forehead as he deals with a skin infection.

So by the time you get halfway down, immersed in fog (or up here, is it clouds?) your knees feel like they are about to give out.

And the way down offers an immediate difference between a hike in India and America: there is no government keeping nature free of capitalization and enterprise, so there are tea stalls at every turn with someone trying to get you to buy something. This can be nice — I don’t really enjoy packing peanut butter sandwiches when I go on hikes, but the problem is the evidence that is left behind. There is trash everywhere along the path — for Indians, the world IS their trash can.

In America, I can see myself getting upset by this, but here, it is just different. And I like stopping for tea.

The worst of the piles of trash along the walk, It isn’t usually this bad.

The rock that gives the view its name is long, but turned sideways as you walk up to it, so it is more like Dolphin’s Smashed Nose. Or Hammerhead Nose.

Eagle’s Point is a quick one minute walk away for a different view, but when we went the fog was everywhere, so we could only imagine the view. The fog was our view.

Dolphin’s Nose

Eagle’s Point

But then as we came up to civilization, the fog began to roll away and we caught a glimpse of a mountain in the distance.

On the way back, beside an old rusty
abandoned tea stall.

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