Monday, September 16, 2013

A New World: Flora and Fauna

India has held many new things and new experiences.  Today, I thought I'd describe some of the new things I'm seeing in nature! 

First of all, the plants.  There are so many different plants here: palm trees, banana trees, cacti, banyan trees . . .  Many of the plants are tropical ones, with flat waxy leaves that look almost plasticine, especially when wet.  Some are spiky, some are soft, but they all have a very different, sleek look to them.  There are plants of all colors - this morning, I noticed a kind of creeping plant that was a dark, rich purple color.  The flowers on the trees range from canary yellow to passion-fruit orange to bright fuchsia.  Some are duller pinks and blues, some are white, but all of them stand out. 

In India, even the bugs are colorful.  Yesterday, I observed a centipede crawling - it reminded me of a powerstrip, with bright orange legs and a black body with an orange strip running down it.  On my homestay, we saw a butterfly with black wings and a bright red body - we're talking fire-engine, acrylic red here.  So bright.  The Japanese beetles (while huge) are metallic emerald and copper hues.  Butterflies are orange, yellow, white, black, nearly every color you can imagine . . .

On homestay, we saw a kingfisher.  They are a bright turquoise, as if someone had taken a paintbrush and just streaked them with it.  Unreal, the way the butterfly was bright red.  Almost too pure a color to be plausible.  It was gorgeous to see it fly.  And, of course, I was able to see a peacock at the zoo and it was stunning, with its tail spread and feathers on full display.  Crows here are interesting, too, as they have a band of color at their throats, sometimes a dull gray and sometimes a mousy brown; the rest of them is oil-slick black, but they have just a patch of a different color.  Pigeons are kind of the same everywhere, but the ones here often range from dark gray to a fine pale silver, with marbled green-gray-white feathers around their beady black eyes.  They like to flutter around our balcony and windows. 

But my favorite moment of observing the huge differences between nature home and nature here happened last night around 6:30, at dusk . . . when the bats came out.  I had visited the small zoo here and seen hundreds of them sleeping in the trees, and I'd been hoping to see it for a while, so it was very exciting that I finally got to see them come out last night.  They flooded the sky, and if you didn't know better you could mistake them for a flock of crows or starlings.  Within a half hour, they had dissipated, but for that half hour they were swooping all over the sky, flapping by overhead.  Incomparable and incredible.  There was a full moon, too, and seeing the bats sweep over the moon against the steely blue dusk was magnificent.  I couldn't take my eyes off them. 

There's other things, too - like the cow we ran into one night, just hanging out down a side street, or the goats and small dogs that roam the streets - but these are the little, everyday moments of beauty that pop out every so often and remind me that this is India, and it's a whole other world from what I see at home. 

P.S. Sorry I don't have pictures.  I can't always capture these things, so you'll have to make do with my description until I see if I have anything to put up. 

1 comment:

  1. That is incredible! The differences in animals that one sees in different countries can be extravagant. Your posts describe them perfect. I can picture all of these creatures in front of me. I really hope India continues to be fascinating and wonderful for you. I will continue to keep a look out for your updates and posts. :)