Mountains, Nature

On innocuous invertebrates – insects in the Himalaya…

Cicada shell

If one looks at it from the perspective of ‘being’, or ‘consciousness’, insects can be intriguing… their interactions with humans are mostly harmless, the nature of their existence is seemingly linear and unassuming, even mundane maybe, yet they stand out enough for them to superimpose their behaviours and characteristics upon us… social organization, collective intelligence, labour, family or the struggles of existence… the idioms are all around us, if only the busy bee would once in a while see life from a snail’s pace…

Modern times see insects vilified as a general perception –  creepy crawlies that tend to startle or pests that lay to waste a precious crop – yet they are embedded so indiscernibly into human ecosystems that it is but impossible to not take this relationship for granted – the hullaballoo about loss of pollinators that was going unnoticed for decades being a case in point… food, medicine, textiles, research – there is hardly any pillar of modern economy or society whose plinth is not raised on the back of these critters…

The mountains, where the human is compelled to slow down, are where insects break into the empathetic side of our imaginations, for both dispositions must toil unceasingly in these undulations where time is sieved through the cold symphonies of rock and water… if the landscape is a prose, insects are its punctuation, affecting a pause for minds bewildered by the constant churn of life and death, offering them a chance to decode the abstruseness of existence…

Time, and its transience, is the message that they leave us with… the song of a cicada more than a decade in the making… the gluttony of a caterpillar that just can’t wait to fly… the demureness of a slug crawling rather nonchalantly, impervious to the terrain… the contemplative trudge of a beetle, like an octogenarian enjoying an evening stroll… ‘tis a microcosm of life, one that begins with the monotony of subsistence and ends up in the folds of the metaphysical… more than creatures, insects are a medium, a sort of catalyst that keeps curiosity alive lest it be lost in the humdrum of civilization…

Cicada, Insects of Great Himalayan National Park, Himachal Pradesh, India
I’d have easily stepped over this rather quite cicada, who was lying well camouflaged in the grass right outside my tent, if it were not a glint off its wings that caught my eye…

 

Caterpillar, Insects of Great Himalayan National Park, Himachal Pradesh, India
This caterpillar (Common Yellow Swallowtail) was on an all-out forage, seemingly gloating over the lush meadows it wanted to chomp down…

 

Slug, Insects of Great Himalayan National Park, Himachal Pradesh, India
We’d just gotten over one half of a rather back-breaking climb when this slug announced himself on the trail, much resembling what we’d be looking like trudging up the hill to the griffons circling above us…

 

Insects
Out of place, was the first though that came to mind looking at the scarab beetle struggling to get off the trail into the relative safety of the thicket…

Musings on insects, walking in Western Himalaya

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.

One Commnet on “On innocuous invertebrates – insects in the Himalaya…

  1. Beautifully written Parth! Can’t agree more! There’s a saying in my tongue that even the tiniest of beings have the right to Earth… so it does. In 2017, my Inktober theme was Insects and I called it “Tiny, but me!” We need to acknowledge that they are all here for a reason!
    “If the landscape is prose, insects are its punctuation…”

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