In search of Stones – Kunming, China

Geologists confirm that the Stone Forest is over 270 million years old. The area used to be an ocean. During the Long Geological Period from the late Permian Period 230 million years ago to 2 million years ago, the ocean subsided and giant rocks appeared.

Exposed to rains and winds, eroded by the elements, the limestone ranges have been shaped by time. Animals, plants, and even human figurines can be found here. Some are elegant, some are rugged, and each is lifelike with its own distinguishing characteristics.

Walking through the Stone Forest, visitors marvel at the natural stone masterpieces and are bewitched by the intricate formations. The magnificent, strange and steep landscape creates countless labyrinthine vistas.

There’s a strange kind of calm around those standing stones. Although it is said that strong gales sweep out of the wind caves every 30 minutes. I touch and feel a different cool, a coolness that permeates through my arm all over me. I feel aware of the sudden moments of clarity in those darks and the lights, the lines of the horizon or trees all suspended in perfection, waiting for us to recognize and appreciate that beauty. So much patience! Just waiting there, getting chiseled each day, every moment in to something more beautiful, more serene.

I had visited the stone forest when my mind was confused, cluttered with many indecisive thoughts. At times when we are so confused I know what to do, it is better to let go, and lie still. I sit there and breathe the freshness. The air has a cleansing effect, and the stones have a healing touch. This place helped. First, there’s the grace that overtakes you when you leave your other world and get onto the bosom of nature. I often think it’s more a matter of inhaling than rendering. Then silence meets more silence. These Stones are living beings, and they sit here meditating, growing at nature’s pace, looking at the world moving on its wheels, faster with each century, getting slaved by scientific gadgets, with a growing hunger for control. It is difficult to loosen control, but once I could, if felt better.

New feelings and dramas evolve, often merely with the passage of time. Once the mind got uncluttered, I was  able to see logic in better light, I felt my own inner light moving me to say things much wiser that I knew I had in me to say. I knew things will move back into harmony. I felt the stones smiling at me. Why do they keep standing there for centuries?, waiting for us to discover them, to marvel in their beauty?, to listen to their silence, learn from it? Their patience is overwhelming to me.

Milton in his famous book ‘Paradise Lost’ wrote (in reference to god) –

“They also serve, who only stand and wait”.


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