Tuesday, June 2, 2009

what the brain does not know..

The eye does not see. This was brought home to me this weekend.

I was lucky enough to be gadding about the Himalayan foothills with a group of geologists. Well, not gadding about exactly. I was participating in a training session on spring conservation, and it was lovely. I learnt a lot, and met up with old friends from Pune. And there was the field trip.

Look at the photo of the hill side. I would not even notice this if I was walking in the hills by myself. If I did notice it at all, I might just shake my head at the loose soil and think wistfully of the hard base rock of the Western Ghats. Geologists see a lot more. When he saw this, H painted for us a picture of a young, enterprising world. He spoke of the pushy sub-continental plate and how it challenged the much larger Asian plate. He spoke of a sea and its inhabitants, and of how they died, but are still present in the rocks. The rocks were folded up, and squeezed, and each fold, each crack speaks of that struggle that is still going on. But that is not all.

As we were standing there in the sun and looking over a fertile valley, he spoke of a world that was much colder and lonelier. It was not silent, though. glaciers were there, challenging the mountains, and in turn being challenged by ever-hotter summers. The glaciers are gone now, but they have left behind the story of their struggles. The loose deposits are layered, and each layer speaks of a time when the glaciers receded, amassed their forces and moved onwards again.

When I was standing there and listening to this story, I felt like a little illiterate child who holds a lovely book in her hands and cannot do more than look at the pictures till someone reads her the stories, points out things in the picture that she might have missed otherwise.

1 comment:

ozma said...

That is a great analogy--of a child with a book she cannot read. Yes, it is strange what knowing can make you see. I suppose that knowing can also make you fail to see. But the less we know, the less we see.