Traveling - A remedy for old eyes

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Travel  |  House: Booksie Classic


This is an essay on a trip to a location brimming with fireflies. It is an exploration of how the fireflies made me re-learn the magic in the world and cured my "old eyes".

Submitted: June 22, 2018

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Submitted: June 22, 2018

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Traveling – Remedy for old eyes

 

As we grow, we lose the ability to really see the world, we look at it with old eyes. In a sense you look at things without really looking. How can you? You are no longer looking at things with your eyes. You have become blind in spite of having eyes. One of the activities which help you “regain” your eyesight is traveling. Traveling, if only for a day, can do wonders for a person. It is medicine for the mind and a remedy for “old eyes”.

I recently had the chance to travel to Bhandardara, located a few hours outside Mumbai. One of its highlights (pun intended) are the fireflies, winged beetles that use bioluminescence to produce light in their bellies. We embarked on our trek to witness these light-emitting creatures in the dead of the night. At that point, the darkness of the night is in perfect juxtaposition with the feeble light emitted by these magnificent creatures. As we walked into the forests far away from the lights of civilization we started noticing tiny flickers of light. These flickers, few and far in between signaled that we were getting close to the mother lode. Surely enough, we stumbled upon a tree which was dazzling with the glow of a number of fireflies. I stood there enthralled by nature’s light display as the tree appeared to dance under the fluctuating lights produced by these beetles. I must have stared in awe at the tree for more than 20 minutes wondering when, if at all, will I get bored of these fireflies. It was only after we went to our third location to spot some more fireflies, that I was slightly uninterested in them. My eyes had become old to the magnificence of the fireflies.

I can talk about how travel is perfect for resetting a mind and body that have become too accustomed to the monotony of city life. I can write about how travel leaves in you in a better frame of mind for a few weeks as you bask in its warm afterglow. I could also write about how travel makes you realize the vastness of this planet while at the same time reminding you of the size of you and your problems. This post however addresses another one of traveling’s many benefits – a remedy for old eyes.

 

As I stood there, looking at the weak light emitting from the insides of these tiny creatures, I realized that there is so much beauty, mystery and magic in this world and yet, somehow, I have become oblivious to it all. When we age, we start looking at things very mechanically, we see them and yet we never really do see them. To someone, who has never heard of fireflies or seen one on a screen, the light show put up by these flying beetles would be nothing short of magic. It would be straight out of science fiction, like the planet Pandora on Avatar with its myriads of psychedelic plants and creatures. As for me, even though I had seen them on my computer screen and read all about bioluminescence; what happened in front of my eyes seemed otherworldly. I simply could not take my eyes off those dancing trees where resided many fireflies; that is till I saw my third set of fireflies. I had seen them twice by then and could no longer see them as if for the first time, as if I was watching them with new eyes; eyes of hope, vitality and possibilities. The magic had faded away so swiftly.

That is what traveling can help you cultivate, the ability to see everything as if for the first time. To see your room, the house, your building, your pet, your family, your keys and everything else as if for you are seeing it for the first time. It is easy to do that while traveling where everything is literally new and you are indeed seeing it for the first time. Develop that habit in your daily life, see your home like you saw it for the first time and it will no longer be the dreary place you choose to rest; it will turn into an abode of endless possibilities. See you significant other, as if for the first time, and they will no longer appear boring and predictable; they will be exciting and alive like they have always been. Everything is always in a flux and always new, it is just you who has stop seeing it that way.

The world is stranger than any planet in the stories of science fiction. There are “immortal” jellyfish who can cheat death, tardigrades (water bears) that can survive volcanoes, space and live without food for 10 years. Honeybees that flap their wings at 200 times every second and spiders who can weave silk, 2 inches of which can stop a double decker airplane! Peacocks with numerous colors on their feathers and electric eel which literally spout 600 volts of electricity from their bodies! The day we can adapt our eyes and see for the first time every time and feel every time for the first time we will rediscover the magic in the world. Everything is always new, only the eyes have become old. Just go ask the children, they see everything for the first time and for them, the world is nothing but an endless display of beauty and magic.

Traveling – Remedy for old eyes

 

As we grow, we lose the ability to really see the world, we look at it with old eyes. In a sense you look at things without really looking. How can you? You are no longer looking at things with your eyes. You have become blind in spite of having eyes. One of the activities which help you “regain” your eyesight is traveling. Traveling, if only for a day, can do wonders for a person. It is medicine for the mind and a remedy for “old eyes”.

I recently had the chance to travel to Bhandardara, located a few hours outside Mumbai. One of its highlights (pun intended) are the fireflies, winged beetles that use bioluminescence to produce light in their bellies. We embarked on our trek to witness these light-emitting creatures in the dead of the night. At that point, the darkness of the night is in perfect juxtaposition with the feeble light emitted by these magnificent creatures. As we walked into the forests far away from the lights of civilization we started noticing tiny flickers of light. These flickers, few and far in between signaled that we were getting close to the mother lode. Surely enough, we stumbled upon a tree which was dazzling with the glow of a number of fireflies. I stood there enthralled by nature’s light display as the tree appeared to dance under the fluctuating lights produced by these beetles. I must have stared in awe at the tree for more than 20 minutes wondering when, if at all, will I get bored of these fireflies. It was only after we went to our third location to spot some more fireflies, that I was slightly uninterested in them. My eyes had become old to the magnificence of the fireflies.

I can talk about how travel is perfect for resetting a mind and body that have become too accustomed to the monotony of city life. I can write about how travel leaves in you in a better frame of mind for a few weeks as you bask in its warm afterglow. I could also write about how travel makes you realize the vastness of this planet while at the same time reminding you of the size of you and your problems. This post however addresses another one of traveling’s many benefits – a remedy for old eyes.

 

As I stood there, looking at the weak light emitting from the insides of these tiny creatures, I realized that there is so much beauty, mystery and magic in this world and yet, somehow, I have become oblivious to it all. When we age, we start looking at things very mechanically, we see them and yet we never really do see them. To someone, who has never heard of fireflies or seen one on a screen, the light show put up by these flying beetles would be nothing short of magic. It would be straight out of science fiction, like the planet Pandora on Avatar with its myriads of psychedelic plants and creatures. As for me, even though I had seen them on my computer screen and read all about bioluminescence; what happened in front of my eyes seemed otherworldly. I simply could not take my eyes off those dancing trees where resided many fireflies; that is till I saw my third set of fireflies. I had seen them twice by then and could no longer see them as if for the first time, as if I was watching them with new eyes; eyes of hope, vitality and possibilities. The magic had faded away so swiftly.

That is what traveling can help you cultivate, the ability to see everything as if for the first time. To see your room, the house, your building, your pet, your family, your keys and everything else as if for you are seeing it for the first time. It is easy to do that while traveling where everything is literally new and you are indeed seeing it for the first time. Develop that habit in your daily life, see your home like you saw it for the first time and it will no longer be the dreary place you choose to rest; it will turn into an abode of endless possibilities. See you significant other, as if for the first time, and they will no longer appear boring and predictable; they will be exciting and alive like they have always been. Everything is always in a flux and always new, it is just you who has stop seeing it that way.

The world is stranger than any planet in the stories of science fiction. There are “immortal” jellyfish who can cheat death, tardigrades (water bears) that can survive volcanoes, space and live without food for 10 years. Honeybees that flap their wings at 200 times every second and spiders who can weave silk, 2 inches of which can stop a double decker airplane! Peacocks with numerous colors on their feathers and electric eel which literally spout 600 volts of electricity from their bodies! The day we can adapt our eyes and see for the first time every time and feel every time for the first time we will rediscover the magic in the world. Everything is always new, only the eyes have become old. Just go ask the children, they see everything for the first time and for them, the world is nothing but an endless display of beauty and magic.


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