The Song Of A Stream

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Sue Vincent’s #photoprompt

This image evokes the memory of a sagacious song that each bounce of water whispered into my ears; the unforgettable lyrics… having the quality of a lilting and enchanting tune, unique in its form.

As the stream gurgled down with glee, I tried to sing with it and soak in those fleeting moments of unexpected joy. I marveled at its sparkling surge and luminosity that never loses its sheen.

I admired the freedom that nature endows us with!

I wondered at the message that was written on its ripples, the message of surging ahead, of making its own way through the impediments, of singing happily despite the turbulences created by the unforeseen circumstances.

Isn’t life like that? Can we detach it from water, its lifeline?
Is it imaginable without the rocky surface and inevitable incidence?
Can we stop its flow and speed? Can we evade change?
Its childlike innocence, its radiance, its twists and twirls remind us of little joys of life. Its depth and fortitude speak about the stormy weather, which is knitted into the fabric of our lives.

I have spent countless days in the lap of Nature, watching the movement of clouds and the orange glow that spreads across the sky, dancing in the sudden hailstorm, sliding in the snow, walking in the woods and deriving solace from the whispering pines but the impact of that song, which I had heard thirty years ago is far more profound and eternal. Some memories are indelible.
© Balroop Singh

Thanks to Sue Vincent for an inspiring Thursday #photoprompt Choice.

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Hear the Whisper

Bare branches
Bare branches peep through my window
Stand tall to inspire;
Rocks that I admire
As they love with fervor

Bare beauty that illuminates
At the command of Mother Nature
I watch from my cozy couch
How they entangle and crouch

Bare branches shiver and smile
Breathing eerie calm;
Waiting for their singing pals
When sublime spring calls

Watch how they weep
Bearing snow and rain
Wind whirls tender twigs
Not a word of pain!

Watch how they lit up
And say adieu to sun
But shimmer with delight
In moonlight!

Did you hear their whisper?
© Balroop Singh

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Check my latest book release: Moments We Love

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Balroop Singh.

Fall and Haiku

Fall haiku

 Fall evokes emotions
It speaks myriad messages of
Beauty, life and re-birth.

I didn’t know what is “Fall” till I saw and discovered its real meaning. I didn’t know Autumn is “delicious” or “ the year’s last, loveliest smile” till I tasted it.

“Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.” – George Eliot 

Autumn was just another season for me, a relief from scorching heat. Beauties of Mother Nature were revealed to me when I visited this part of the globe to meet my girls who chose to study in U.S universities. The charm of Bryn Mawr campus captivated me, evoking emotions that melted into words:

Fall haiku

Ochre and crimson
Robes of Mother Nature remind
Decay can be exquisite.

Autumn haiku

Autumn is peeping
Through the sidewalks it smiles
Evoking eloquence.

Fall haiku

Beauty changes connotation
Decay doesn’t decimate it
Gather treasures for posterity.

Year after year, as I watch this beauty now and consider myself blessed to see how mother earth gathers treasures for posterity.

Thank you for your support dear readers. I am travelling this month. See you in December.

More about Fall.

You can click here for more poetry.

Check my latest book release: Moments We Love

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Balroop Singh.

When I Visited the Roof of the World…

Leh – A Page From My Travel Diary

Snow covered mountains
The Himalayan range as seen from the room of Grand Dragon Ladakh

Leh – ‘the roof of the world’ is not just a spiritual town, interspersed with Buddhist monasteries and stupas but also an epitome of serenity, a quintessence of unparalleled unique beauty, which keeps changing with its mesmerizing views and seasons.

Any trip to India would be incomplete if you have not visited this desert of mountains. The hallmark of this place is its tranquility and simplicity, untouched and unexploited by commercial tourism. There is no mad race of fleecing the tourists like you may see at Srinagar or Manali.

It was a little unpopular due to lack of nightlife and poor digital connectivity but it is an extraordinary experience in itself. New luxury hotels (only a few) with all modern facilities and Wi-Fi have come up recently.DSC01886 2

When we visited in 2011, the only centrally heated hotel was The Grand Dragon at old Leh road, Sheynam. If you are not very fond of crowded places, if you like trekking, biking, mountaineering and rafting, you can find all these activities here to make your trip more memorable.

When we checked the best time to visit Leh, we were told that April to June is the peak season. We decided to visit in mid April to avoid the summer rush but we found very few tourists, which made our trip all the more enjoyable.

We didn’t have to wait on the roads, which is a common spectacle on narrow hill roads. When we landed at Kushok Bakula Rimpochhe Airport, situated at the highest altitude in the world, the effect of winter could be seen all around in the form of bare trees and snow-clad Himalayan peaks, with no greenery around.

The landscape aroused a very distinctive feeling as if we had entered an absolutely new world of bare mountains. The view from our room was absolutely heavenly, with snowy mountains touching the horizon, a lower brownish range merging into the plains and few simple looking houses, which seemed sleepy!

A chilly breeze welcomed us in the morning as we stepped out to bask in the glorious sun, shining splendidly. Soaking in the sun, on the arid lawns of our hotel, we made the plans for the day, keeping in view the advice that we must get acclimatized to the high altitude before going further.

Road covered with snow
Enroute Pangong Lake

Pangong Lake was topmost on our list but it is 160 kms from Leh. As we were contemplating to order a taxi, another couple approached us and suggested that we could make this journey together. It appealed to us because we could split up the expenses and also have nice company for the day.

We decided that we would start early next morning as the journey to and fro would consume the whole day and nobody could stay at the height of 14,256 feet for the night. There are no hotels nearby to accommodate any tourists.

The journey by SUV cab was long, arduous but breathtaking. The snow had not melted and as we went uphill, cold kept creeping into our bones. As we travelled on the third highest motorable road in the world, covered with snow from all the four sides, we felt on top of the world.

The local driver knew exactly where to stop for refreshment and photography. Chang La Pass at the height of 17,585 feet was incredibly stunning with mounds of snow all around us. Indian army guards this pass as it is very close to China border and mythological Changla baba sits there to keep them warm and inspired.

Chang La Pass and temple at the height of 17,585 feet
Chang La Pass and temple at the height of 17,585 feet

Prayer flags could be seen all around Changla Baba temple. The stopover was very short, not more than 20 minutes due to high altitude, deficiency of oxygen, extreme cold and unpredictable weather.

This pass is the gateway to the Changthang Plateau and Pangong lake. The descent from this pass towards Darbuk is again very steep and the journey seems endless. Another amazing spectacle enroute Pangong Lake is a valley of rocks and boulders, formed by avalanches. You can’t see any greenery around though some pictures of late summer show it.

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Standing on frozen Pangong Lake

At last we could see the magnificent lake, surrounded by bare hills of various hues of brown, black and golden. We were told that it is 134 km (83mi) long and extends into China. Almost 60% of this lake is actually in China. Alas we couldn’t see its deep blue color as shown in the pictures because it was completely frozen! We walked on it and took some memorable pictures.

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Then was the time to start the long journey back and we came back extremely tired but in high spirits for exploring other parts of Leh next morning.

To be continued…

Have you visited such an amazing place?

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©Balroop Singh.

When We Visited #Redwoods…

Young Redwood trees
Young Redwoods

I had heard about the giant Redwoods but always thought that they must be just another kind of trees till I saw them! I was stunned at the feelings they could evoke. The first thought that came to my mind and kept reverberating all the time: “Seeing is believing.”

The moment I entered Redwoods Park, a strange exhilaration overpowered me. To add to my excitement was another nature lover, my daughter who had flown from east coast to spend a few days with us and was elated to accompany us. We chose to stay at Emerald Cabins, which are nestled right in the center of redwoods and the distance to Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park is just 24.5 miles.

Cabins in the midst of sequoias
Emerald Cabins

While driving toward Trinidad on Freeway 101, we stopped at Garberville for a quick snack and discovered the first delight of the day! Though I had done enough research online to keep in mind what to see, I didn’t come across this “Grandfather tree,” said to be “world famous” as it is 1800 years old. Its height is 265 feet and diameter is 24 feet.

World famous Grandfather Tree
Grandfather Tree

I won’t be able to describe the delight of watching these trees…seeing is believing, I kept repeating as I walked through the Redwoods. They are not like any other trees, they touch your heart. Surprisingly, They do!

I was mesmerised by their beauty. They can entrance you beyond imagination! As I stood in the midst of those trees, deep in the woods, an entirely different world encompassed me and slowly I  seemed to merge into the environment. I felt time didn’t matter here!

While I stood and watched, trying to figure our my escalating emotions, my husband walked ahead and my research-minded daughter stood by each tree, spending umpteen moments, touching the soft bark, hugging the trunk, looking at the patterns as if she would like to talk to them. Then she would enter the fire damaged trunks though I cautioned there could be an animal inside. She even paid attention to every little flower growing in the vicinity.

Fire damaged tree
Fire damaged tree

Pictures or videos can never do any justice to what they look like and the vibes they emit. Their ironic beauty reveals how the vagaries of nature or fire could never wipe them out from the face of this earth. Some of them are thousands of years old. They can sprout even from stumps or fire damaged trunks.

The phones go out of service as you enter the park and we had to depend on the maps provided by the visitor’s center. Our map showed 31 trails, most of them were marked ‘easy’ or ‘moderate.’ We didn’t even look at the strenuous ones and chose ‘Big Tree Wayside’ and ‘Foothill Trail’ on the first day and felt encouraged to pick up another moderate one of 4.3 miles on the second day. The trails are well-maintained and thankfully we didn’t meet any animals.

Drive through tree
“Shrine” Drive through tree

We also drove through the Avenue of Giants at Humboldt, a picturesque drive, which is surrounded by Humboldt Redwoods State Park. It led us to a ‘drive through tree,’ a unique experience. Be prepared to shell our $8 to drive through this tree though we didn’t pay any kind of entry fee anywhere to enter the state parks.

Balroop Singh.

Do you know?

    • Redwood forests are millions of years old.
    • Fossils show that the relatives of today’s coast Redwoods thrived in the Jurassic Era 160 million years ago.
    • More than 95% of the world’s old-grown redwoods are in California.
    • Only 4% of the world’s old-growth redwoods exist today. 96% of the original old-growth coast redwoods have been logged.
    • Redwoods get their common name from their bark, which is reddish brown in color.
    • They are self-resistant to fungal disease and insect infestation.
    • They can protect themselves from fire with their thick bark, which holds large quantities of water.
    • Giant sequoias can live to 3,000 years, with the oldest on record living more than 3,500 years.

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