The first sign of spring in our hills…the yellow jasmine shrubs blossom in abundance.
Six months of layering clothes, donning a cap at bedtime, blessing electric blankets and heaters, climbing into a warm bed at 8 pm…it’s slowly fading away ever since March arrived. I am still using the electric blankets and I am still layering clothes (fewer layers though) , but the days feel different.
At 7 am, the sunlight enters the kitchen from the eastern window and a shaft of yellow light lands on the couch in the living room. The winter sun could never peep in from that side, it was always a direct entry from the big windows in the bedroom, with light and warmth flooding the room completely.
The mighty Himalayan peaks are preparing their summer veils and curtains, which will shield them from all those hopeful summer tourists who flock to the hills to see them. Thick white clouds and the summer mists keep them invisible till the monsoons. Winter days meant staring at the starkly white and beautiful peaks with HD delineation of every crevice, every glacier and every peak.
Dry and desolate trees are getting transformed with their spring palettes of ruby red, shades of green or yellow and ochre.. Pollen falls like dust on parked cars, pine trees are sprouting tiny cones on every twig and there are flowers on wild shrubs, rhododendron trees and on brave creepers which have survived the cold. Winter was all about the bright colors of drying leaves, pine and juniper cones on the ground, oak acorns being gobbled by hungry parrots and, when we were lucky, snow on every twig, tree, stone, car and every bit of ground, to make it a grey and white panorama. If there was no snow, early morning frost would ice each blade of grass to perfection.
Birds are partying all day long…courting, chasing, making nests, chirping and cheeping to distraction. The forest animals are visible again…hordes of monkeys swing past, jackals slink into the undergrowth, and there are signs of the big cats hunting for food. Today morning, it was a cow gasping its last breath at the edge of the forest, last week it was a litter of solemn pups who had strayed too far from the house. Though it breaks my heart to see animals becoming prey for the big cats, it’s a daily reminder of the rules of Nature and of the World.
It’s all a cycle and it all goes on ceaselessly and precisely. Winter will be pushed out by spring… then summer will heat up the hills and parch the ground…the monsoons will pour water and slush..and the freezing winter will be back. Nature continues its cycle of death and birth all around me and I watch with wonder. Jackals, pine-martins and wild dogs demolish the remains of a Big Cat killing in hours. The forest floor is picked clean by a host of birds and kites. Stumps of damaged trees are removed by termites or by village folks keen for firewood. Burnt forest fire patches turn into green carpets.
There is always life after death, there is always creation after destruction, and there is always spring after winter and winter after summer. It’s a reassuring world to live in.