18 October, 2007

A Rendezvous with Mother Nature

Hongkong has been at its polluted worst over the past few months. Pollution levels have hit a new high and many a bulletins advising people with tendency towards asthma or related breathing disorders to stay at home and not venture out are being seen issued.

I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority. ~Elwyn Brooks White, Essays of E.B. White, 1977

The skyline that Hongkong was and is famous for, nowadays is, for the most part, seen shrouded in a dense thicket of fog. Normally clear outlines are extremely fuzzy. Almost as though the skyline is enveloped in cotton balls.

As is normally the case, weekends mean outings for both the kids. Needless to say, we, as parents, play the role of chaperones. And we do see a lot of conspiracy between both Appu and Abhay when it comes to pre-deciding where they want to go on a weekend. Over the past few weeks both have been hankering at us stating that a visit to the Victoria Peak is long overdue.

So on Sunday last, we did make our way towards Victoria Peak. The way I say this – it kind of makes it seem as though we had a choice in this issue. Truth be told, we didn’t. Not unless we wanted to risk serious damage to the existent amount of grey cells, which, atleast in my case, seem to be following the Theory of Diminishing Marginal Utility.

As we made our way to The Peak, pollution was making its presence felt. But once we reached the Peak, the weather was just purrrfect. The kids thought they could jig around within the airconditioned confines of The Peak Mall but little did they know that they were in for a surprise. Their parents had something else in store for them.

The Victoria Peak has a lovely road trail about 4 kms long. It is as good as walking a full circle around the Peak. The trail ends where it started. A perfect circle – all around the mountain.

So last Sunday the kids got a taste of what it feels like to be on top of the world –quite literally. And the flora and fauna that we feasted our eyes upon needs to be seen to be believed.

[Many thanks to Vic for endorsing the use of pictures snapped up by him, in this post.]

Despite the fact that we are now well into autumn, we found lots of fresh new leaves on the plants and trees and plenty of budding shoots.

Steep rising hill on one side and a steep fall on the other. Moss covered hillstones on one side of the pathway and a dense thicket of woodlands on the other. The vista from the top of The Peak was absolutely breathtaking – as always. And the air – pure, clear and cool and refreshing.

And aside of the time we visited Vic’s uncle’s farm in Kerala when we traveled to India last, this is about the closest that the kids have come to actually communing with nature.

To their amazement, they discovered that spiders do actually spin webs. And to add to the marvel, they saw firsthand that a teeny weeny spider could weave a web large enough to cover the entire circumference of a plant.

Much to their wonder, they realised that moss is slimy. So far, the only inputs as far as moss was concerned, had been visual. That it is green or at times yellowish green. But to touch moss, to feel it and to have the brain compute and coordinate the sense of vision and touch w.r.t moss was indeed a novel experience for them.

They realised, much to their amazement, what some berries originally look like on the plants on which they grow. Berries, which are later processed, dried, salted commercially and which later end up on plates as food.

They saw, for the first time, fully grown bamboo trees. Lush green and lithe as springs, yet strong and wiry.

They saw and realised that fern too is beautiful in its own rich diversity.

They saw the setting sun at far closer quarters than they normally do. A fiery orb of fire cushioned all around by frothy foamy cottony white clouds.

Nature can be so visually creative and delightful. A little splash of colour transforms the whole panorama into a different canvas. There were a few signs of autumn too. Leaves turning red on some trees while some trees were already barren with the leaves having fallen out. Yet, in the midst of autumn, mother nature gave strong credence to the cycle of life – what with little buds growing on the shoots of the barren trees.

A sense of calm pervaded the atmosphere. That lulling silence of being surrounded by Mother Nature herself. The ever soothing, all calming, wonderfully peaceful and ever relaxing feel of being far away from the hustle and bustle of the city, of being surrounded by the lush flora and fauna. The reassuring, serene greens of the vegetations dotted by occasional splashes of vibrant colours. The hum of the omnipresent insect world among all that greenery, the chirping of the nesting birds. The intermittent sound of water trickling along the hillside alternating with the reverberation of a strong stream of water gushing its way down the knoll, creating a path of its own, for itself.

The trail sure was tiring for the kids, but a good kind of tired. Abhay needed to be carried around for a while when he claimed that his legs were “hurting big”. For a while – for he was back on his feet after that. The kids also had a nice time calling out “hellos” and “byes” to all the doggies which were walking on the trail with their guardians. For that matter, I guess, Appu and Abhay have not seen as many dogs on the same day ever.

All in all, it was a lovely day, a day of relaxation and most importantly of respite from the mad rush of city life, albeit for a few hours.

We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children. ~Native American Proverb

post signature

17 voice(s) said so:

~nm said...

Such beautiful pictures!! Glad that the kids had so much fun and so did you too!

BTW, what camera do you have? I've to buy a new one and so I'm asking everyone about this :)

starry nights said...

I am glad I stopped by, got to see some beautiful pictures ,loved the fern. You have a beautiful family.

Kodi's Mom said...

a nice weekend outing and really, really beautiful pictures. i liked the first one the most, the bud being right up and the skyline tilted...very good angle. and so nice to see them enjoying nature, in its simplest & truest form.

Fuzzylogic said...

Lovely pics Gauri!It felt good to give a face to the name I had become so familiar with. Glad to hear the whole trip was so refreshing and exciting to the kids.

Lavs said...

Phew! You made me take a virtual trip around The Peak. Thanks for those eye-pleasing photos.

Shobana said...

Very beautiful pics you have here. I just did a post about places that I want to visit in my lifetime and HK was one of it. Now I am thinking I should go ahead and change it to Hawai as I had planned for in the beginning.

Hope you guys had a good time.


choxbox said...

Lovely pix!

Had heard abt the pollution from friends who live in HK - apparently due to factories across the harbour?

Was there when n3 was a toddler. I liked the monorail thing that goes up to the Peak and the views from the top of course are awesome.

Random Thoughts said...

Camera - Casio -Exilim - 5.0 megapixel

Cameraman - Vic - Not so slim.

WhatsInAName said...

Lovely post and lovely pics.

Its sad that now such places are rare... where nature is still virgin.

Yups, good to see the face behind that name :)

Sue said...

And I'm delurking here as well... :)

I love the flower pics. You might enjoy http://salilchaturvedi.blogspot.com -- he has a nice garden and takes wonderful photos of it.

mnamma said...

Beautiful pictures Gauri! Glad that you and your family enjoyed the trip. The flora and fauna pictures were awesome :)

Trishna said...

ohh wow!! such lovely pics... And the special treat was getting to see u guys...:) I am glad you guys had so much fun!

Just Like That said...

lovely pics. And I finally have a face for you!

Usha said...

Beautiful pictures.
Nice to see the whole sweet uyfamily!

Poppins said...

Lovely lovely pictures, of the fauna and the family :)

karmickids said...

This was a beautiful post Gauri and such beautiful family pictures. Put a black mark on your blog....Touchwood.

DotMom said...

What a lovely trip! the pictures are absolutely national geographic. So Stunning!