Mountains

the woods o’ winter…

I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says, ‘Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again’.

-Lewis Carroll

Winter forests around Lohajung Village, Uttarakhand, India
woods around Lohajung Village, trekking to Brahmatal, Uttarakhand

the woods of winter are an exercise in a patient build up… as autumn slowly trickles down to freezing point, the last vestiges of life mellow down to ensure survival… the chirrups and cackles tone down to a low humdrum… the winds turn to rustling rather than ruffling, and the bustle of the brooks turns into plops of droplets wresting themselves free from the ice…

the acoustics are not alone though, the visuals play their part too… the colours retract their resplendence and turn to a brooding monochrome… the contrasts start overblowing into black and the large swathes of green dominating the landscape curdle down into dark dollops dotting the white canvas… the boulders go into a ceremonial white as do the mountaintops…

the cold woods of winter, near Nohradhar, Himachal Pradesh
shrivelling winter flora, near Nohradhar, Himachal Pradesh

if the sun shines, the cold burns in cycles of shade… the fingers numbing the second one digs them into the snow, which also mischievously balls up into nooks and crannies inside the shoe to create a safe dominion as the toes fidget around in apparent discomfort… if overcast, one feels sandwiched rather mercilessly between two dimensions of white…

winter scapes near Auli, Uttarakhand, India
winter scapes, climbing to Pangarchulla peak (~4,400 m), Uttarakhand

then there are pug marks adorning the snow… from bears to birds, everyone seems to fancy a trot upon the carpet of snow, heeding little to the need for anonymity… the woods of winter are mellow and brazen simultaneously… the overall aura is subdued yet there is enough animation for the essence of transformation to remain…

the woods of winter are a wizened lot… chipping away gradually at millennia of patterns to carve out a character of their own… the dark canopy cajoling a silent resolve… carrying the burden of autumn to find deliverance in spring…

winter banter, Great Himalayan National Park, Himachal Pradesh, India
winter banters, Shilt Hut, Great Himalayan National Park, Himachal Pradesh

musings on mountain forests in winter, snowscapes around 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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