24.116000 N 85.401389 E
It translates to Leaves of Sal, this place, and in summer, one enters with uncertainty, unsure of water level in the lake and flow in the nearby cascade.
One also enters to study silence, which dawns effortlessly. But soon the tires are nervous: for it’s in their nature to create noise when pushed against soil, gravel. They fear they might be breaking an unspoken code.
The eager soul behind the steering wheel, thrilled in the company of what it terms “nature” is delighted and decides to wander deep, deep where it doesn’t need another soul for love, romance, even friendship. It is the rejection of the pastoral at its very heart. It strolls aimlessly, yet conscious of the aimlessness, to be with trees that stand tall and watchful, and it’s here that the second adjective, the personification, hits him.
For suddenly, the silence begins to creep over and turns dreadful, the poetic watchfulness alarming. Silence is a character in the wilderness, and since you are in the habit of imagining “nature” as a unidimensional, forgiving force, you feel betrayed at the thought of trees plotting against you. It's no consolation that you find the cascade dry, so when you reach the lake, you look for a precise angle to shoot its charm, to turn the drought-line into an aesthetic subtext.
Because, though still unsettled, you have come to realise that nature - this time without italics or in quotes - never owed its beauty to you. That viewing the famed bounties is accidental, a function of weather, climate, the height of trees, the extent of branches, all of which nature itself creates and controls. You realise that even behind the lens, you must locate the beauty yourself.