Mountains, Nature

on pine…

‘tis the season when pine burns, and we lament the colonial lumberjacks whose commercial legacies reverberate through the plumes of smoke afore the horizon, the natural transcends into the political and the tree is duly vilified… its canopy an invitation for the sun and cigarette butts to raise an inferno, its dry, acidic leaves a potent fuel to obliterate large swathes of natural capital… the citizens runs amok, the administrations bring out the calculators, and the tourists empty buckets of pity and concern on social media…

pine trees

it gets wrongly cast thus though, the pine… for anyone who’s thrashed about the montane ecosystems in higher climes knows the true accent of these forests… the oak and the rhododendron are the good protagonists with their healthy water tables and mixed vegetation in all hues of green and blue, but traverse them for too long and their dampness starts creeping into the soul, a smell of decay or humus pervades the environs, the brooks are laced with slippery lichen, and let us not even get started on the soggy firewood and the leeches

pine tree

a pine canopy is exactly the opposite… while the mixed forests are messy with everything contorting into an inextricable larger fabric, pine forests seem clean and sorted… dry crisp air filled with resinous fumes reinvigorates the nostrils as one saunters through spacious bridle paths, the atmosphere is one of symmetry, the terra firma conjures up a little amount of grass just for the cosmetics, and the wind croons mellow melodies…

yet ‘tis too Utopian, this ecosystem, and hence it burns, for order without chaos is seldom sustainable… over centuries, these pine forests have been carefully sanitized and distanced to serve economy more than ecology, and hence the blazing retributions… if one trudges up higher, the silos vanish, and the pine interacts with the rest of its brethren in a perfectly symbiotic spirit… there are no fires there, but the air ain’t dank either… spreading aching legs over a crackling campfire, ‘tis hard to despise pine…

sunset on pine canopy

for the fires that burn are human, if not directly perpetrated by the mafia then perpetuated by the sum total of our impact over time… one can try to douse them with all their might… but this is a case of the woods wanting to turn over a new leaf, and there is little sense in trying to argue with them otherwise… the pine is one of the most fire resistant of trees ironically… ‘tis not the tree we scramble to save but its timber… and the forest cares little for that glutton…

musings on pine…

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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