VULNERABLE LISTENING

Having grown up at the foothills of the Himalayas replete with litchi orchards, life has been full of encounters
with inhabitants of the mountains, each one carrying
a different shard of my ancestors. I speak with them — to the moths that would go to sleep before sunrise,

to the bees in constant fearless search of sweetness, and to the litchi trees whose seeds took up space in between pieces of gravel. I learned upon talking to these non-human ancestors, how to decenter myself from the sovereignty of man. I had to let go of the idea that my ancestors could teach me something that the litchees and bees could not.

Nature enables countless encounters with magic. Magic doesn’t take us out of ecosystems but roots us more deeply in them. How can being with our non-human ancestors initiate a quiet act of vulnerable listening?

Prompt by: Shagun Singha, 28. India