How do I even begin to describe it.
There’s this tingling feeling in your stomach, and you inadvertently lean forward the tiniest bit and your eyes open up wide in a desperate bid to accommodate all of it. For there is a lot to accommodate. It is as if infinity is kept on a platter and served as a feast to your eyes.
I speak of landscapes. You must have seen it; you have to have seen it. It is that unending sea of treetops, accompanied by a wind that can make the heaviest heart fly. Those mammoth mountains which overshadow you and yet make you feel like you belong. It is the sunset sensation that washes over all of you in colours you never knew existed. Or that plain black with a sprinkling of dots somewhere up there that should have no right to affect you, but instead sweeps away your heart and soul in a whirlwind of gasps and gawks.
It doesn’t quite make sense. Why is nature beautiful? Why is it gorgeous stunning mesmerising and every other synonym of pretty? Why do I associate the words I use for human attractiveness for what is essentially rocks and air and water and other mundane stuff? How does suddenly putting a lot of them together in a far off place make me feel like the elements and I have achieved harmony and hence I must stare my eyes out? Why do a bunch of photons captured on a photographic plate and shared with a million people by means of 1 and 0s make me feel like the light reflected and refracted exactly that away just to have a direct hit at my heart?
This seems to be related to one of the fundamental questions every human seems to grapple with. Am I special or not? On one hand, there is pop culture, and its honey coated words, assuring everyone that the stars shine for them. On the other hand, there’s logic and your recently-touched-rock-bottom-self-esteem that points out that all you’ve done in life is eat up a significant share of cocoa and browsed the internet all day and that doesn’t really merit any star-shining for you.
Now I’m going to be entirely logical and concede that the stars probably are not twinkling because they have a special something for me. But yet there is no way I can deny looking at these vast expanses of raw nature feels unquestionably good. So, um, why?
Maybe we stand back with awe at nature because we simply don’t know what else to do. You know how when you’re faced with something really absurd or when someone says something extremely random, your first instinct is to laugh? I think our fascination with nature works the same way. We see a mountain, a mountain that took millennia to build, or we see a sky, a sky that couldn’t be painted by human hands in a millennia, and we don’t know what to do with it. So we stand back and stare.
We stare, we nudge each other to look, we write poems, we compose music, we paint pictures, we travel to seek more and we express our sheer incapability to comprehend the things that exist right in front of us. And if something can invoke us to “feel” so strongly, I think we might just be forgiven the innocent pleasure of thinking that it all exists for us.