On my very first day in India, I encountered many marvelous new customs not practiced in the United States, my home country. But the most curious by far involved trees. Here and there, alongside the roaring streets of Mumbai were rings of marigold wreathed around twisting banyan trunks like dried rays of afternoon sunlight…
The marigolds often encircle the image of a many-armed or elephant-headed god. Mystified by their nature, I asked a friend what they might be. “Those are shrines,” she explained. “Shrines to Hindu gods, and shrines to the spirits of the trees. India worships nature.”
I was enchanted. Here in India, I told myself, I had found a place in which the people pay homage to what I, too, revere: nature. In the coming years, if there is one matter upon which we must find common ground, it is nature – Earth’s most unique and irreplaceable treasure. Our fate depends on it.
BEYOND SHINY THINGS
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