Mountains, Nature

on cold visuals…

Faeries, come take me out of this dull world,

For I would ride with you upon the wind,

Run on the top of the dishevelled tide,

And dance upon the mountains like a flame.

– W.B. Yeats, The Land of Heart’s Desire

We stray too far, in the simple act of subsistence that seems almost like a quest more often than not, and it is that onerous knotty fabric that the mountains tend to untangle and are therefore sought so fervently, with more and more flocking to the outdoors… what happens there?… in a nutshell, one could say a lustration of the senses… a general dampening of the din of civilization and a fresh perspective on corporality…

Snow atop Sudarshan and Thelu peaks from Gangotri, Uttarakhand, India
Sudarshan (left, ~6,500 mts) and Thelu (right, ~6,000 mts) peaks from Gangotri, Uttrakahand, India

And while traipsing in thin air, perhaps there is nothing more pleasing to the eye than the sight of snow… not the one covering the surrounds and leaping for the muddy boots with a soft crackle that can compel one to question their sense of grip and balance, but that finding its abode on those summits dotting the horizon, sitting sombrely on the crown or tucking itself in the recesses tracing white lines across the face… that is the snow one aspires for from a distance, but finds his demons in while seeking proximity…

Snow atop peaks surrounding Saketi (~4,000 mts), trek to the source of Tirthan River, Great Himalayan National Park, Himachal Pradesh, India
Saketi (~4,000 mts), trek to the source of Tirthan River, Great Himalayan National Park, Himachal Pradesh, India

It is like a beacon, the first sight of snow peeping out from the constructs of the treeline or revealing itself after an elongated footslog through the moraine… and the glimpse unleashes a steady trickle of conflicting emotions… to go any nearer could be foolhardy or valiant, to retreat a reverence to the elements or cowardice… the waters are pure yet pernicious… the smells are sweet but the wind wicks away any warmth… 

Snow dotted landscape at the shepherd camp at Devi ki Marhi (~3700 mts), Bada Bhangal Trek, Himachal Pradesh, India
Shepherd camp at Devi ki Marhi (~3700 mts), Bada Bhangal Trek, Himachal Pradesh, India

But back in the city, as the weather turns muggy and the smog gnaws away at the bronchioles with a refreshed glutton, the memory of that white crest restores calm over inundation, a sense of sanity one hopes to carry on till transience…

musings on snow, hiking in Himachal and Uttarakhand

Author: Parth Joshi

Allured by the outdoors, the author is made up in parts of that quintessential lost soul wreathing under the pangs of biophilia in a desk job, a wannabe elegist mostly ending up in dungeons of poetasters and an optimist waiting for the senility of the modern world to fade away while sampling shoots and leaves. In saner times, he has a keen interest in areas pertaining to tourism, history, agriculture and climate change, especially with respect to historical interpretations, emerging technologies and future livelihoods. An avid trekker, runner, cyclist, birder and photographer, he is more often than not found gloating over anything hinterland, on foot or over computer monitors, and fantasizing solutions that can foster inclusive growth and sustainable livelihoods for communities at the grassroots.

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