A pore on moraines

…she learned words that rolled from her tongue when no one was listening. Firns and striations. Cirques and moraines. Adulation. Sublimation. She fell asleep to their music, and she woke to it. Chatter marks, eskers, and drumlins. Truncated spurs. Corries and tarns. Kames. Eolian loess. Katabatic winds…

Deb Vanasse, Cold Spell

Approaching moraines near Thamsar Pass, Himachal Pradesh, India
Approaching moraines near Thamsar Pass (~4600 mts), Dhauladhar, Himachal Pradesh

Moraines are what one gets as a retribution for not respecting snow it seems… try to skimp a bit too frivolously across those white carpets and karma might even deal you some scree… the higher echelons of erosion seem to take themselves a bit too seriously at times… the massif blowing cold mist out of the nose while wearing that indelible brood… for ’tis only in the grass and the brooks that these climes seem to smile in… the rest appears content to revel in a haughty, ungiving demeanour…

Moraines leading upto rotten ice, trekking to Stok Kangri Peak, Ladakh, India
Moraines leading upto rotten ice, trekking to Stok Kangri Peak (~6,100 mts), Ladakh

For this congregation of rocks is no less than a mirage… an apparent patch of grass at the fag end, interspersed with a few boulders can (and mostly does) at proximity turn into a scenario that is quite the opposite… or that moment when one feels enough momentum to be skipping stones all the way through across the uneven, jagged tapestry only to have a corrugation too deep halt the traffic… 

Moraines near Phangchi Galu Pass (~4,700 mts), Great Himalayan National Park, Himachal Pradesh
Moraines near Phangchi Galu Pass (~4,700 mts), Great Himalayan National Park, Himachal Pradesh

There are a few that mortals do not give in easily to the feeling of drudgery when negotiating the morainal circumstances, trying to figure out golden ratios or some pattern in this jamboree of stones… yet even mathematics can fail to eke a way out of the unfading monotony of treading each step with caution, except maybe when one is scrambling and the adrenaline induced by the use of all fours on a steep incline shakes off the drowse…

Moraines approaching Kalihani Pass (~4,800 mts), Dhauladhar, Himachal Pradesh, India
Moraines approaching Kalihani Pass (~4,800 mts), Dhauladhar, Himachal Pradesh

Yet they are not cruel by intention, these scapes, one chews over the fact as the wind beats down mercilessly upon their defenceless facade… and the agony starts inviting mild shades of empathy, punctuated with some sharp bits poking at the ankle bone… the sonority of each step starts filling in, some xylophonic, others a less soothing form of the percussive…

Moraines after crossing Phanchi Galu Pass, Great Himalayan National Park, Himachal Pradesh, India
Descending Phangchi Galu Pass (~4,700 mts) into Parvati Valley, Great Himalayan National Park, Himachal Pradesh

In essence, a moraine teaches one to let go of control, balancing self-doubt with aplomb, and trepidation with tranquility…

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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