The hills shouldn’t be underestimated. They look tame and calm, welcoming but when the grey clouds clutter the sky the hills stare you down, looking somehow taller, powerful. Those of you who haven’t been to the hills, you are missing out. The hills care for you, but don’t help those who don’t care for them. They don’t take well to strangers. But ask a person living in the hills, they’ll tell you there is not a more loving environment on this planet.
Every sound reaches your ears, the hills are loud, you think they look silent and still but you can hear every creature’s conversations, they carry echoes for miles and they remind you there are other living creatures that exist. You can’t keep secrets from the hills. The hills force us to coexist, to depend on nature, and let nature depend on you. There’s a space for everybody, humans and creatures alike, the hills don’t discriminate.
Have you heard crickets that sound like anklets in the night, waking you up as if you’ve heard a ghost? Sometimes you might hear the jackal howl, and you retreat knowing that the night creatures are out to play and your turn is done. If you step out without a light into the dark, just look up, you will never see that many stars in one sky. Join the dots in the sky, draw your own constellations there are enough stars to go around and plenty more.
And in the morning the sun will rise, and how. It takes its time, in all its glory, have you ever seen the orange sun in the morning hanging low like ripened fruit, taunting you to try and catch it? You’re a speck on the face of the earth, the majesty of the hills you’ve never known. There is a balance, the hills make sure every living thing in its lap respects the others. The hills don’t yield to the greedy, they will find you and when you rob them, you’re the one who loses.
Sometimes the hills fight back, they will flood, willing the sky to strike you with thunder and lightning. When you’ve robbed other creatures of life and their homes, harmed the fur of the hills making furniture out of their skins, trying to tear them down with your machines, you will awaken the devil, and there is a price to pay. It’ll rip your creations in half, swallow you into its ground, you will find that you can’t escape the hills. Have you ever seen lightning erupt over the hills? The purple cracks in the sky that flash and strike?
Have you seen rivers run dry flow in the monsoon, those gentle streams you skipped stones over, have you seen them growl and rush, in an angry rampage over the land that was once theirs? You have not, while sitting in your high rise with a phone to your ear. Come to the hills, you’ll find birds, that aren’t pigeons, birds so exotic you’d not know the species. The hills teach us, they have seen centuries go by, they will tell you in lost paths that are now overgrown the secrets of your past.
What was bestowed to you the hill dweller, the hills will give you not to ruin but to protect. These are not gifts, they are duties and the hills will watch you as it has observed those before you. They will make note of your mistakes, and it will forgive only some. But disrespect it and it will take what it blessed you with back, let it disappear into the Earth so you may never disrespect it again.
The hills are beautiful, and they show it off, come to the hills in spring and watch their plumage sway in the wind, and in the rain, they dance more than the peacocks ever can. They will show you beauty that you could never recreate. The hills will teach you to give. They will teach you to share, to give back what it has given you, that’s why the hill dwellers live off the hills, in an endless cycle of give and take.
I’ve seen these hills, they were the same when I first saw them and they are the same now. They have aged gracefully, but it’s the children who’ve shamed the hills, now I see the hills cry, a frown hidden in their smile. The hills who’ve never bent their heads now speak tiredly, tired of fighting the tyranny of a population after their ruin. But, I’ve seen the anger of the hills and as the grey skies become the background, a chill in the atmosphere, tells me the hills are not done with us. There is a plan at work, and all wars need strategy. You’ve not seen the worst of the hills yet. The hills shouldn’t be underestimated.