The Thai word for gecko is gingook. I loved this word as a child and used to say it over and over because of the sound of it. Gingooks were everywhere in the village, especially in the houses.
One morning I entered Grandpa Miang’s house and found him siting cross-legged on the floor, a gingook in his palm.
“Shh,” he said and motioned for me to sit.
We sat there without words. The only sound was the wind in the coconut trees outside. And then a series of little clicking noises.
“Hear?” He said.
I listened more intently.
“But what does it mean?” I asked.
Grandpa Miang looked at me quizzically.
“What does it mean?” He repeated as if he hadn’t understood me.
And then he turned and his warm brown eyes held mine.
“You are asking the wrong question, little frog.”
For little frog was my name in the village. I puzzled over that question for the rest of the day and into the night. I still puzzle over it now. I didn’t want to ask him what he meant! But the result was that I began to listen to the wild world. To gingooks and grasshoppers and fireflies. When we moved to live in England and I had to adapt to life in a new culture I didn’t see anyone listening to the natural world. But for Grandpa Miang it was part of life. I saw him listening to trees and clouds and streams and the wind.
We may not have gingooks to listen if we live in the West and in the city to but we still have the wind, the stars, the moon, the flowers. We all have something to learn from each other. We all share one home. We are all part of the wild world.
As Nicholas Sparks says “And I learned what is obvious to a child. That life is simply a collection of little lives, each lived one day at a time. That each day should be spent finding beauty in flowers and poetry and talking to animals. That a day spent with dreaming and sunsets and refreshing breezes cannot be bettered.”