Mountains, Nature

On those romancing cold rocks…

lichen

Cold, is all that they are, rocks in the high mountains, some basking in stasis, others churning in that slow glacial procession… concoctions of pressure in myriad forms, sharp volcanic outbursts or a gradual buildup of sediment… flaky or smooth, jagged or rounded, monoliths or pebbles, blunt prose or poetic allegories, they’re cold, all cold… brooding as they punctuate landscapes forever in a state of flux…

flowers growing around rocks

Yet for all the smugness of the inanimate, the animate always find a way… as soon as the glacier starts to relent, out come the flora and fauna to romance the rocks… some a brief fling for a season or two while the weather is genial, while some find a way to survive through the inhospitable winters…

Himalayan snowberry

There’re slender flowers jostling around the perimeter of boulders, like colourful hems of a plain skirt, or a congregation at the feet of a famed seer… rocks can’t seem to refuse them, even as they threaten to accelerate their weathering… hypnotized by the colour maybe, their surrender is rather tacit… then there are those dwarf bushes that don’t keep their distance, small in stature but in their eagerness to make acquaintance proliferating with a great efficiency, sometimes resting and sometimes encroaching upon the rocks, overwhelming them one way or the other…

mushroom sprouting between rocks

Fungi then, wannabe rocks themselves, popping up from between the gaps, all fluff and little substance, if only they’d be a little conservative on the attire and avoided those bright, flashy colours, maybe they could’ve blended in… sometimes the bugs come a-calling, tiptoeing along the surface or practicing smooth landings…

lichens growing on rocks

But nothing romances the rocks better than lichen in my opinion… myriad forms refusing to conform to the traditional definitions of flora or fauna, they are symbiosis in its most sophisticated iteration… unlike plants, they don’t need a foundation, unlike animals, they don’t yearn for motion… and ‘tis with this idiosyncrasy that they unlock cold rocks… spouting out of the slightest blemish, they set up camp and photosynthesize… dressing bright and fancy akin to mushrooms, they hold rocks in an embrace bested only by deep time…

caterpillar

Musings in the outdoors, meadows and moraines near Gamshali, Uttarakhand

Author: Parth Joshi

Mountain lover ⛰️ | Hiker 🥾| Runner 🏃‍♂️ | Cyclist 🚴 | Photographer 📷... allured by the outdoors, the author is a quintessential lost soul craving for the outdoors while suffering in a desk job...

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