Mountains, Nature

on gluttonous meadows…

Meadows of Devi ki Marhi in upper reaches of Kalihani River valley, Himachal Pradesh, India

come the cusp of rains receding into autumn, those mountain meadows are a sight to behold… while the rest of the senses are trying to figure out the nitty-gritty of navigating through the chaos beneath that seemingly innocent carpet of green… the outdoors from a macro perspective prefer dressing up conservatively for most part of the year… the fag end of the seasons tend to rebel somehow… and much like the faunal kingdom, bright colours are eventual traps…

for meadows are full of glutton before the lull of winter, gobbling up all they can to be able to thaw their way into spring…

there is that mid-mountain meadow… the platform through one which saunters towards higher climes… except that the saunter is a lot more laboured than what met the eye initially… one gains a step to lose a couple, the satisfying thud upon the terra firma slips into sludge of the mushy roots… where the undergrowth gives way, the slope takes the baton and picks up a notch… and one lumbers up, rather chagrined at having ended up falling for this veil of grass to underestimate the trail…

yet some are sometimes quite diffident, allowing an easy passage through their leafy encores as one whistles across the valley floor in sheer delight (but for the stream crossings of course) … tiny dots of divinity are scattered across the landscape wearing a solemn gaze, watching the tiny bits of improvisation in the otherwise repetitive symphonies of the seasons…

then there are those offering that utopian vista on the horizon… with flowers caressing the ankles and the valley a riot of colours, one easily misses that glint of mischief coursing through the meadow… stumbling across the first boulder and consequently dancing through the next few, realization dawns as one peers through the grass to see the rock field… it doesn’t hurt that much though, for one has seen many an adventure laid bare by unforgiving rain-clouds, thus the snowy peaks talking to a bright blue sky is a blessing in its own right…

Meadows of Tirthan Valley, Great Himalayan National Park, Himachal Pradesh, India
Approaching the source of Tirthan River

and there are those flower-wall meadows, the greediest of the lot… the tall, water-laden grass playacting as a fire hydrant as one thrashes their way about… navigation goes for a toss as one makes a beeline for the exit that is nowhere to be seen… the only comfort is perhaps the soft flowerbed that one falls on after tripping across invisible stones…

Meadows of Jiva Nal Valley, Great Himalayan National Park, Himachal Pradesh, India
Hiking towards Dwada Thatch, Jiva Nal Valley

some conniving meadows set up booby traps, feeling like a cakewalk before they suddenly drop you in front of a cold, brooding rock face… and as one steals a few glances down while hanging on to the lip of the mountain for sheer life, they simply wink and disappear down into the chores of their own little ecosystems…

Approaching Kandi Galu notch, Jiva Nal Valley, Great Himalayan National Park, Himachal Pradesh, India
Climbing towards Kandi Galu, Jiva Nal Valley

meadows don’t eat humans though… come to think of it, they don’t even relish the taste on their palette… I often think of them as a large giant with an unsavoury mortal caught in a morsel as its eats… but the giant is a herbivore, and hence with a certain level of disgust it spits the human out… and the man gets up in a huff, all covered in slime and filth… scrambling for refuge in that solitary hut in the woods…

Subli Thatch, Jiva Nal Valley, Great Himalayan National Park, Himachal Pradesh, India
Subli Thatch, Jiva Nal Valley

musings on meadows, trekking in Great Himalayan National Park, 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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