Mountains

on mountains and seclusion…

Cloudy sunset from mountains near Asurbag Top, Great Himalayan National Park, Himachal Pradesh, India

mountains make their own weather, goes the old adage… what it forgets to mention is that they keep it too… only letting the last vestiges of moisture tumble downstream… in a fiefdom determined by relief, the environs are pristine and breathtaking… yet they exact a price, these pinnacles, for bestowing one with the true liberation of the senses requires a concerted submission to solitude, one that is sweet on the palette initially but can ferment into a gnawing monotony as time passes by… 

it is quite apparent why… for one, the timeframes are starkly different… the mountains carved out over millennia last forever as compared to the human disposition that can at maximum (in the most exceptional of cases) crawl to precincts of a centenary… it is quite natural to be entranced into the wide open valleys where the mists rollick over green grass and the rivers teem with building blocks of life… yet the fickle turns of weather that seem to signify significant changes to the troubadour are hardly a bump in the life cycle of the mountain…

think of calculus and you’d get the drift… what looks like a perfect curve breaks down into infinitesimal straight lines through differentiation… the straight line that is our experience of the mountains is not what the larger graph is like… take another example of that circle with an infinite radius that ceases to have any curvature and becomes a straight line… the curvature is our experience that encapsulates our experience within a small circle, but the mountain is that straight line…

from a certain perspective, mountains seem greedy… they want to embosom everything within their folds, encircling and containing… unlike the ocean where the sailor heads straightaway for the horizon, the mountain tries to block the view, putting random obstacles in the way that intrigue and exhaust the pedestrian…

yet maybe this itself creates the allure… for in trying to embosom everything, mountains become a library of life, their crests and troughs littered with what the planet was like eons ago… from summits of seabeds to hieroglyphics of extinct species… trudging through the highlands and staring at the massifs, one can peep into deep time… yet they never welcome long-haul visitors these mountains… stay too long and one’d become a part of their history… the seclusion of the mountain is best felt in transience, for permanence is anyway an antithesis to mortality…

musings on the nature of mountains, treks across Himachal Pradesh

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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