How Fragile Is Life!

California fires
Image from ABC News

Today my heart goes out to those
Who look up, beady-eyed, at the skyline
Ferociously licking the infernos
Which were once their homes
Ensconcing all their dreams!

When you have moments to decide
To leave behind precious possessions
When you see
Everything going up in smoke
In moments of melancholy,

When you watch helplessly
Mother Nature wreaking havoc
Holding your heart in smithereens
You think of those who couldn’t make it
Reduced to bones and ashes within seconds.

Is it the wrath of Mother Nature?
Is it man made catastrophe?
Questions blaze with the flames
Answers would never calm down
The turbulence within their hearts.
© Balroop Singh (Oct. 2017)

This poem tries to capture the emotions and grim reality of last week’s wildfires in Northern California.

About 3,500 homes and businesses have been completely destroyed…reduced to ashes in the wildfires that broke out mainly north of San Francisco on last Sunday. The biggest blaze, called the Tubbs Fire, grew overnight in Napa County (famous for its wines) by 6,000 acres to 34,270 acres. It was only 10% contained on Thursday.

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No Less Than An Adventure!

Life is an adventureWould you call this an adventure?

I did, but one of our friends who was with us, disagreed.

Imagine driving round and round in circles and the navigator of your IPhone saying ‘reached’!

It seemed funny and we did have a hearty laugh but our frustration seemed to mount with each attempt.

I refused to give up and was sure that there was a way to reach the destination.

Were we missing something…turning on the wrong road?

Let me relate the story from the beginning. Our trip to Crater Lake (Oregon) was planned in a hurry but we wanted to make the best of every place of interest on the way rather than driving non-stop and reaching with cramps in our legs and back.

My research yielded two places, out of which we chose Dunsmuir, a city on the upper Sacramento River in California, known as the “Home of the best water on Earth.”

Further research revealed Hedge Creek Falls and Mossbrae Falls (most popular) as the top sights in the city.

We reached by four in the evening and after checking in the place we had booked for the night, we thought it was a good idea to visit Mossbrae Falls. That was the beginning of this adventure.

Web results revealed that it was a 45-minute hike and a 5-minute drive. We chose to drive to the Falls but our phone navigator took us round and round, bringing us back to the place we would start. My friend felt that there was something wrong with my phone and told us to start again, with instructions from her phone! We turned right, as instructed by her navigator, then left and then right and right again according to the names of the roads and reached the same place!

We decided to ask a local who laughed and told us he could tell us ‘how not to get there!’ He warned us that it is illegal to go there because the only path that could lead us to Mossbrae Falls was walking by the rail track.

‘Why is it listed as top attraction!’ I dismissed the thought as quickly as it had flashed.

He advised us to drop the idea of visiting these Falls.

DSC02219
Disappointed but determined, we came to our lodge and read the reviews on Tripadvisor. One of the reviews exactly mentioned how to get there. It also cautioned about the hazards involved and why people took the risk of visiting these falls. I declared that we would surely try the next morning.

One of our friends, a law abiding freak, was very reluctant to go as the only way to approach the Falls is a walk by the rail track and he considered this a calculated risk. Nothing could deter me.

Why haven’t the authorities developed another track? This thought still reverbrates around me.IMG_4349DSC02218

We parked our car at the Botanical Garden parking and walked back towards Shasta Retreat. We kept walking downhill till we reached a bridge. As instructed by the reviewer, we turned right from the bridge and were at the rail track. It was a single track railway.

A long walk on uneven surfaces and on stoney sides, quite narrow at places, with warnings to each other to be careful, go slow and watch out for a train, we kept going till we reached another bridge. We could hear the Mossbrae Falls near by!

They were not very high but looked awesome. Despite the sound produced by falling water, a serenity pervaded all around. Somebody was lying in a hammock, soaking in the damp, breezy, soft spray of water. The river was shallow and we could see the pebbles below the water.

I had read that the pictures do not do any justice as the Falls are much more beautiful than they seem in the pictures. I couldn’t agree more.

IMG_4355 2We were lucky as no train passed by. We met all kinds of people on the way, even those who were carrying little children on their shoulders and one not very old man, walking with two sticks, in the center of the track.

We returned with some delightful memories.

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Balroop Singh.

 

Signs – #Writephoto

Signs

That moment…
When signs transform into reality
When acceptance seems sole support
When togetherness comes with a caveat.

That moment…
When we miss the signs of love
Neglect, indifference, brutality
Combined with weird wangle,

Simmering opinions, deep divide
Miles away yet together
Your own life being precious
So it seems.

Trophies of a hunter,
Now we adorn the wall
Proudly we display the love
The accomplishment and triumph!
© Balroop Singh

Inspired from Sue Vincent’s #writephoto prompt. Many thanks dear Sue.

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Books for poetry lovers:

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Poetry book
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A Spectacular Marvel Of Nature: #CraterLake

The magnificent Crater Lake

I have seen many lakes – from the breathtaking Tshangu lake in Sikkim (India) near Chinese border to the amazing Pangong lake in Leh near Ladakh in the Himalayas, Dal lake, named as the “Jewel in the crown of Kashmir,” the finger lakes in Buffalo (New York) and many more.

None could elicit as speechless a response from me as the one I visited last week. None could inspire me to share my ethereal experience of being mesmerized by its view.

I have been looking for words to describe the beauty of Crater Lake ever since I set my eyes on this spectacular marvel of nature but words seem to fall apart…should I say exquisite…magnificient or a spiritual delight?

When I looked at it, the first word that came to my mind was WOW! Its pristine glory, its tranquility and its wondrous aura captivated me beyond words. I stood rooted to the ground, frozen, not by the gusty winds and sleet that welcomed us but by its celestial beauty.

“Crater Lake must be seen to be appreciated properly,” said Thomas J. Williams, former superintendent of Crater Lake National Park, “photographs simply cannot depict the majesty of the lake in its setting, the depth of the blue.”

The words of Author, Jack London that I happened to read at the Visitor center at Park Headquarters really resonate with me, “I thought I had gazed upon everything beautiful in nature as I have spent my years traveling thousands of miles to visit the beauty spots of the earth, but I have reached the climax. Never again can I gaze upon the beauty spots of the earth and enjoy them as being the finest thing I have ever seen. Crater Lake is above them above them all.”

Created out of fire, lava and smoke, this unique lake took many years to come to its present form. A caldera was formed when Mount Mazama (a volcano in south-central Oregon) collapsed. Lava eruptions created a central platform, Wizard island and Merriam Cone. Eventually the caldera cooled, allowing rain and snow to accumulate and form a lake.

Wizard Island in Crater Lake
Wizard Island

We watched a 22-minute film about the park’s violent past and its present grandeur. It is shown at the Steel Visitor Center at Park Headquarters.

We drove around the east rim of the lake the day we arrived (many thanks to our amiable hostess who told us)  because it was to be closed to vehicular traffic the next day for repairs. Rim drive, which was built in 1930s, is a 33-mile road that encircles Crater Lake. It offers ‘dramatic views’ of the lake and the park’s volcanic scenery.

Sun and mist played hide and seek and erased the deep blue color of the lake. Sunsets in the park are said to be amazing but we couldn’t savor them. A hushed desire to go again simmers within my heart.

Undeterred by sleet and rain, we hiked to Sun Notch to view The Phantom Ship, an island in the lake, that seems to be sailing away. From easy walks to challenging hikes, Crater National Park, which was established in 1902 has something for everyone – boat tours, trolley tours, camping, fishing, sky gazing, sunsets, wildlife viewing, food and dining in Crater Lake Lodge and even swimming in the ice-cold water of the lake!

Phantom ship & Rhyodacite dome
Mist is trying to hide the Phantom ship & Rhyodacite dome in the lake

We couldn’t enjoy all the activities due to early snow and bad weather on the day we chose to visit but the memories that we carried are permanently etched on our minds.

The drive through the park was a little scary but very beautiful, with thick forest on both sides of the road. We were caught unawares by a sudden snowfall when we decided to drive to Annie’s Restaurant for dinner and had to return empty stomach! But there were no regrets because we had had a sumptuous lunch at the Lodge restaurant and could drive through the thick snow on the slippery road.

The Pinnacles
These pinnacles were formed by volcanic eruptions, another marvel of nature, well preserved!

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Balroop Singh.

 

How To Pick Up Positive Vibes

Positive vibes
Have you ever experienced blissful joy in the lap of nature? Does your heart flutter with the butterfly or the hummingbird? Do you feel exhilarated at the first showers of rain? Does your heart leap at the sight of full moon?

If yes, then you certainly possess the EQ (emotional quotient) to catch positive vibes, which float all around us. Our emotions get a boost when positive energy touches us.

Positive vibes can be picked up from the environment, people around us and even the animals but we need emotional quotient to grasp those vibes and absorb them.

Nature generates positive vibes in the form of colorful hues all around us…the flowers, the butterflies, the trees laden with fruit in the fading light of the sun, the colors of setting sun emit those vibes…all we need is a warm heart to welcome them and let them radiate around us.

Have you ever felt that you like some people just by intuition; just their coming into your life adds some cheer to it? You are happier in their company, you like to hang out with them and you wonder why do you like them, without actually knowing them.

They make you smile; they add sunshine and laughter to your life. These are the people who emit positive vibes, which you can pick up if you have them in you.

You can also train your mind to recognize those vibes:

  • Look at the smile. If it is genuine, it will pass on positive vibes and soothe your heart. You may even feel connected.
  • Make an eye contact with the person who smiles. Eyes speak volumes; they emit vibes – positive or negative will be defined by your perception, your emotional quotient.
  • Notice the tone of the voice, it carries a vibe too.
  • Listen to the words…and pay attention. You have to be alert enough to pick up the vibes.
  • Notice the body language of the other person. Positivity exudes itself through body posture, movement of hands or shoulders.

Positive vibes can reach you faster as they are more powerful than the negative ones.

Then there are those people, whom you dislike just with your first look, you loath their company, they seem to be a burden and you long to banish them out of your life. These are the people who give out negative energy and if you detest it, you would be uncomfortable in their presence.

How to send positive vibes:

    • Develop a positive mindset.
    • Smile with an open mind to send positive vibes.
    • Create an aura of happiness around yourself.
    • Be determined and optimistic.
    • Be generous in appreciating others.
    • Approach all the problems with a positive attitude.
    • Deal boldly with negative situations.

Positivity“A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events and outcomes. It is a catalyst and it sparks extraordinary results.” – Wade Boggs

Positive opportunities come to you if you have learnt to handle your emotions with a positive mind.

Positive vibes resonate with love, vigor and enthusiasm. They add happiness, solace and security to our lives.

Read more about emotions and their connections.

Do you value positivity? Could you pick up some positive vibes from this page? You are welcome to share your thoughts.

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Balroop Singh.