Nature

Larkspur and resilience…

Musk larkspur, Markha valley, Ladakh, India

Larkspur, ones that take to the higher climes, are cute little flowers that have no business of growing where they do, sneaking out of moraines and scree where even water is at times flummoxed trying to wriggle its way down, not with the way they flaunt that bright blue in the face of the merciless elements that surround them anyway, defying them cheekily like a rodent to a raptor…

Bankund glacier, Uttarakhand, India
Bankund glacier, Uttarakhand

They have all the traits they need to eke out an existence in these domains of desolation, hugging the ground tightly for dear life, thin papery leaves that reflect the sun, reduce water loss and play by the moods of the wind… ‘tis almost human, this tendency to shun contact from all forms of life and choose to subsist at dizzying altitudes… perhaps that is why there’s a sense of kinship one feels with its stocky disposition while negotiating terrains where every unstable step seems to manifest myriad contemplations on the self as well as the landscape, both the flora and fauna unanimous in their exasperation with this landscape that seems to behave like a teenager…

Musk larkspur, Markha valley, Ladakh, India
Scree fields below Kang Yatze peak, Ladakh

Musk larkspur is adventurous, restricting itself to fifteen thousand feet and above, and that’s the variety I seem to notice the most, although sometimes I’m often confused with its close relative the Kashmir larkspur, which chooses to subsist at more humane altitudes between eight to fifteen thousand feet… skipping boulders or scraping through scree, they are the only food for thought one has while trying to banish the dreariness of the landscape and focus on the heights ahead, looking at them pay lip service to the breeze while resting to catch one’s breath… 

Musk larkspur, Rataban glacier, Uttarakhand, India
Rataban glacier, Uttarakhand

The former is supposed to give out a strong musky smell as the name might suggest, though one tends to lose the sense of smell at those heights… like many of their brethren, they find a use in traditional medicine, remedying ailing digestive systems or being used as a pesticide… with their bright blue fickle figure, they are very much ornamental as well, but I feel their beauty resides in the contrast they give against the bleak backdrops… a plucked flower is more a corpse than a decoration, a relic to one’s insensitivity than a sense of style…

Musk larkspur, Rataban glacier, Uttarakhand, India
Rataban glacier, Uttarakhand

One wonder how much soil can a small plant hold when tonnes of stone are tossed about like paper by the glacier anyway, yet it persists, thrives rather, in this expression of sheer beauty, nudging the imagination to go beyond this drab palette of blacks and whites and greys… there is no sense to it but the sheer joy of life, of youth that is boisterous and carefree before it becomes afflicted by sobriety…

Rataban glacier, Uttarakhand, India
Rataban glacier, Uttarakhand

These clumps of larkspur are companionship, one can almost feel them peering down at the trekking boot out of curiosity, or sitting questioningly near the door of the tent… refusing to pose correctly for a photo as they sway to the breeze just at the last moment… there’s more a sense of life than actual life to these flowers, one muses, as an oxygen starved, absent minded brain lets them throw droves of purposeless thoughts its way…

Musk larkspur, Markha valley, Ladakh, India
Markha valley, Ladakh

Musing on flowers, trekking in the Himalaya

Author: Parth Joshi

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

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