Shafts of sunbeams shine through the roof of an open wooden hut. As I enter the hut gingerly I see a little girl in a pink frock,
A busy carpenter bee digs up a home in one of the wooden roof beams. Little woody construction debris falls through the sunlit shafts onto the little ballerina’s arena. It feels like raining confetti to her. She gently raises to stand on her feet and swirls like a Sufi in trance.
I decide to sit down gently to watch.
She chuckles and dances experiencing this novel stimulus.
Oh the wonder in her eyes !

Inadvertently I sneeze and spoil the moment.
She looks at me and runs to her mother’s lap. All snuggled up she investigates me with a beckoning gaze of her left eye.
I assuringly go to her and extend my finger. I am met with a shy pinky finger handshake.
A strong breeze makes its way through the thick forest. The leaves sway and clap in appreciation of the moment.

Over the course of the day we become closer friends. We discover our mutual love for smelling flowers and singing lullabies.

As night sets in, I feel the conquest of a bout of cold in my body. I try my hand at lighting up a fire. I heat up some water in a camping pan for a gargle.

The baby’s mother comes close and asks,

‘How do you feel?’
‘My cold would heal in the warmth of your daughter’s company’.
‘ In our village in France this weather is considered to be summer!’
‘ Well in India this is quite a cold winter !’

Both her and I look at the baby dotingly. She tries to put kindling inside the little camp fire.
‘Comme ca?’ she asks us.
We nod smilingly.

The jungle is abuzz with grapevine as fireflies flirt in pitch darkness. I choose a spot under an open canopy.
As I gargle, the funny noise grabs the baby’s attention. She follows the sound and finds me behind a thin outgrowth.
I take her in my lap, take a sip of hot water and turn my head up to gargle. She cannot stop giggling. And I do it again. Sip and look up.
She looks up too.
And I find her,
Wonderstruck. Again.
As my eyes open up beyond the banal, I finally see what she sees.
A beautiful array of stars, falling on us,
Just like the wooden dust from the carpenter bees, falling through the sunlit beam.

A dizzying cascade of stars,
Falling from a height beyond,
Promising to never arrive.

She cannot look away.
And I dare not sneeze.

Through her, I learn to truly see.

And now,
I too am wonder-struck.
Watching the same sky with new eyes,
Realising how far into the Jungle I had to travel to realise,
The extent of
Our eternal cosmic travel.