ranthambore, india: tigers in the wild + this thing about beauty


It’s strange to sit here and have a post all mapped out, replete with photos and stories regaled of rolicking Jeeps and sleeping tigers, to have something in me stir. As I write this, I’m seeing a former version of myself play out. It’s like a projector showing the movies you use to know, but watching them gives you the familiar pang. The ache that tells you that this is someone settling into the dark country from which you’ve left, but another part of me sees light because there is always, always, someone who will pull someone out of the dark. I know this sounds vague, deliberately so, but I’m facing this massive juxtaposition between a foreign place, which is still an assault on the senses, while at the same time feeling the weight of one’s body on the ground. You know these limbs, these two hands and two feet, and while the place may be different, you are this person who is ripping off bandaids at a massive clip, while standing in a country, which holds the power {and dichotomy} of a spiritual self versus a brutal reality.

Part of the reason why I’ve come to India was to feel unsettled, to challenge myself to feel, to return to myself and sit with myself while I deal with the very real reality of my life versus how I want to define it {or whether it even needs to be defined}. I sit in this space of juxtaposition, in the middle of the betweens {light and dark, and the gloaming sometimes too}, and I want to make sense of it all. I want to know every minute of every day I’m living a great life.

A few days ago I started to panic over a contract that has yet to be signed and the financial implications of this situation. I paced my room. I made lists. I panicked. Yet, what finally allowed me to settle into sleep was this very odd comment I said out loud: I WILL CREATE SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL EVERY DAMN DAY. Whether it’s a new page in a novel in which I’m falling in love every minute, or a blog post, or a photo, or a kind word, I think that’s the key — create something simply for the act of putting beauty in the world, and somehow, SOMEHOW, the world will set itself to rights.

I believe this. Or at least for the time being I need to believe this.

During a seven-hour safari, I thought about all of this, and at the same time my heart ached for someone whom I just met who seems like they’re riding into this dark country without realizing that the ticket need not be one way. It need not be a place where one must permanently rest.

When my new friend Kirsten told me that there are only 50 tigers in the Ranthambore Reserve, 35 of which live in parts closed off to visitors, and the fact that glimpsing these tigers is incredibly rare, I thought again about beauty. About seeing it, participating in it, and sharing it. These words and these photos {monkeys! peacocks! deer! camels!} remind me of the beauty I need to create and perhaps it’ll inspire you to create some of your own.

And do it from a place of grace and integrity. Do it because it feels good. Do it expecting absolutely nothing in return, and when you receive, let it be a gift. An intake of breath that can as easily be delivered to someone else who needs a little light. Think about that.



One thought on “ranthambore, india: tigers in the wild + this thing about beauty

  1. It’s so funny the idea of seeing a deer in India! That really stood out to me because, especially during certain times of the year, I have to be careful driving to work as it’s a very real possibility I’ll take one out with my car. Makes my ‘world’ feel much smaller!


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