Mountains, Nature

Spring in the backyard…

Spring in the mountains, a time when the sun is finally emboldened enough to begin scrubbing away the vestiges of winter, the cold begins to lose its bite and the canopy starts humming to the wind… the brooding dark winter is a time to contemplate, whilst on the other side of the vernal equinox, ‘tis a journey towards light…

spring in the mountains, Pea blue
Pea blue

At home, the little clumps of greenery surrounding the masonry suddenly burst into life as spring comes a calling… under the tutelage of a wizened apricot tree that has lost most of its branches yet musters up enough flower and fruit to mollycoddle the monkeys, myriad shrubs scamper towards fruition before the dry undertones of summer send them back…

spring in the mountains, Honeybee

The little cracks and gaps become alcoves to seemingly infinite biodiversity, while the avifauna lends itself to explicit vocalization, strutting about as if inebriated by the sights and smells, the bugs move business-like sans any festivities, driven by their relatively brief rendezvous with mortality, and the contrastingly large portfolio of ecosystem services to be delivered in that time…

spring in the mountains, Sorrel sapphire
Sorrel sapphire

There are derivatives at play here, the minutest of changes of one quantity relative to another, the flower to the bee, butterflies to the breeze, reptiles blinking furiously out of their winter reverie…  bounties of nature in a limited period offer, the kinds that lend themselves to permeation rather than plunder…

Japalura sp.
Japalura sp.

The critters then… the skink was a muted spectator to the largely muted Holi celebrations, spectating from behind flowerpots, rather dismayed at not getting its poikilothermic right to bask in relative peace with all the din and dyes around… on another its brethren from the Japalura genus was testing its camouflage and climbing skills at the same time… no rest for the reptiles…

spring in the mountains, Himalaya ground skink
Himalaya ground skink

And none for the butterflies either, some flitting about with the urgency of a fast approaching Armageddon, or the demand supply constraints in the nectar sector, the rest basking rather leisurely after having their fill… their restiveness is quelled only by the elements, as fast winds whip up the ridge, forcing them to hold on still to the flowers as the shrubs sway asunder…  

spring in the mountains, Indian red admiral
Indian red admiral

The bees seem much more assured, and methodical, in comparison… for one, theirs is a flight of purpose with little fancy, and there’s a sizeable amount of teamwork involved, one that is devoid of any individual glory… the hoverflies come in hoards, flitting from flower to flower… method actors, they mimic wasps to ward off prey and possess the ability to crush pollen for food… the honeybee, flaunting more paunch than the hoverfly, prefers to mull over every flower it lands upon rather than making a perfunctory acquaintance…  

spring in the mountains, Marmalade hoverfly
Marmalade hoverfly

There’s a lone robber fly I see, waiting to take advantage of this rich harvest and skewer a few unsuspecting prey, one can see the assassin in it’s aggressive stance and spiny legs, ready to strike mid-air… stabbing, injecting toxins and putting a whole other armoury of hunting tools at display… not so innocuous, the bee, one muses…

spring in the mountains, Robber fly
Robber fly

For spring is a crescendo that crashes into summer with a bang, as opposed to autumn that seems to coalesce rather timidly into winter… there’s an exuberance that permeates into everything, life and death alike, a positive tinge to the otherwise melancholic premise of transience… a season to prance and bumble before scurrying inside for summers…

Indian tortoiseshell
Himalayan tortoiseshell

Musings on spring, Ranikhet, Uttarakhand

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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