Some Mornings are Magical

The morning sun mildly breaks through the cracks and lights up the dirt path. Dry Pine needles scattered on the ground crackle under our feet. We don’t feel any wind but the tall Pines swish-swash compelling us to stop intermittently to gaze up and look at their canopies. A distinctive aroma fills in the air – the sweet organic fragrance of Pine forests. Colourful butterflies hang around our way as well-orchestrated bird songs flow in from every direction.

Even today I can clearly feel the unparalleled soul soothing peace of those mornings in the Pine forest.

Pic 1: As we enter the forest.

Morning walks and Pine trees are things that I associate with my Shillong home. Shillong mornings are synonymous with morning walks. I had written about that before. (here)

Last year, this time I was at my Shillong home. I was there for the whole of May and a part of June. Every day would inadvertently begin with those ritualistic morning walks. Most of the days those walks would happen in the Pine forest, just about 1-2 Km. away from my home. The forest has always been there, and I have passed by its periphery countless times but had never ventured into it. Back in the years Shillong was consumed by ethnic violence and such kind of adventures were unthinkable. My cousin, who introduced me to this enchanting place, had discovered it quite recently.

Pic 2: Somewhere on the trail, we would cross a fallen tree trunk.

There was a simple routine to our Pine forest ritual – I would walk to a certain point where my cousin would join me. We would then walk into the forest, spend about an hour or so and then go back to our respective homes.

In the forest, we would leisurely walk through the undulating trail for about 3 Km. upto a certain point. Thereafter, we would retrace our path and walk down through a narrow passage to a bowl-shaped glade that was cordoned off in one part of the forest. There the forest floor would be blanketed by a thick carpet of crisp brown Pine needles. Could we resist laying down in a place like that! Time stood still as we would gaze into the deep blue sky that was visible in patches through the oscillating canopies of the lofty Pines. The forest felt mystical and spellbinding as the swishing canopies rustled gently, nudging, and coaxing each other. Breathing in the sweet aromatic fragrance of Pines needles, we often felt a sense of kinship with the elegant Pines. We and the Pines and everything else seemed to be in a perfect harmonious blend.

Pic 3: As we watched the swishing canopies laying on the forest floor.

Sometimes we would play some light music on our phones while watching the trees rhythmically dance away to our music. My cousin would often come up with her own theories of how the trees might be gossiping about us – humans, maybe they are chit-chatting about their families, or maybe discussing the well-being of their kids – the Pine cones, maybe they’re just chilling with our music. Those were freeze frame moments when life felt flawless, moments where we could remain forever and ever.

Pic 4: At the bowl-shaped glade with cousin and a friend from Bangalore, who had visited Shillong during that time.

Some days, we would climb up a steep slope in the forest. It wasn’t an easy climb by any means as we would keep slipping through the dry Pine needles strewn all over. However, all the trouble was worth it for our sweet spot on top, which was a huge rock shaped in a way that gave the feel of a couch or a bean bag with the perfect backrest. We would sit there listening to the birds as the trees would dance away in a world of their own. Down below through the thick foliage of greens and browns, we could spot tiny roads and tiny houses. The forest felt like where we belonged, it comforted our hearts, and it would take quite an effort to get up and leave. This we usually did on weekends as it would take up more time.

Pic 5: Our sweet spot, the huge rock with the perfect backrest.

If things would have been normal and there would be no Covid-19, this is exactly what I would have been doing every morning at this time, this year too.

Author: neelstoria

Traveling, Gardening, Trekking, Hiking, Storytelling, Writing, Nature, Outdoors, Yoga, DIY

15 thoughts on “Some Mornings are Magical”

  1. What a lovely place and lovely way to spend a month and a bit. I’m sorry you didn’t get to do it again this year. I hope that next year you can do the same.

    This bit really stuck out for me: “Back in the years Shillong was consumed by ethnic violence and such kind of adventures were unthinkable.”

    Of course this happens – and I probably share my city with more people that have been affected by this sort of thing than have not. But it still is surprising when it happens. At the beginning of the pandemic, one of my colleagues casually said “I haven’t seen anyone hoarding groceries since the war in Serbia.” (they’re originally from there). I’m not entirely sure why I’m mentioning this except to say that it surprises me when people I know are affected (even indirectly) by things like this – and also to see a place as beautiful as the photos you took with such a past. It shows me what a ridiculously, blessed, and sheltered life I have led thus far. Something to keep in mind as I visit places and meet people around the world…

    Thanks for the great and thought provoking post. Hope you and yours are doing well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. First of all, I get too late in responding to comments these days and I my apologies for that. I totally understand your example of that lady and it goes on to show that you got what i meant to say – and I belong to the community who were at the receiving end of that violence. It does spur its ugly head sometimes even now. You never know by seeing a place what past it might have been through, more so for places like this which are small and tiny and never been much in the limelight. Recently of course tourism had taken off in a big way, till Covid happened.

      Thank you, so much Todd. Your empathy makes me feel nice 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, wow! I remember reading your morning walk post and that “look-up” picture of the tree canopy. Thank you penning this beautiful post, Neelanjana – it transported me back to your pine forest, a much needed succour in these barren times. I pray that this instant be the only aberration in your annual routine, and may you get to enjoy your delightful morning walks every year in beautiful Shillong!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope you remember the video I had posted of those trees swaying in the morning breeze. Those mornings were so full of fantasy, I can never get over them. I can still feel the feeling 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, yes! First it was only the tree tops swaying in the breeze, and then later you posted another video of the trees with a sweeping view. It was breathtaking – as if a dream! I can imagine what being there would feel like when the video left such a deep impression on me. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Ah, now I feel so very nostalgic and the sense of longing to be back at home has gripped me. I would often walk towards Shillong Peak with my cousin through the jungle trail, stopping to listen to the sound of the birds and buzzing insects, or the sound of a distant spring as a little cascade! If only I could go back home.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can totally totally relate with that feeling. As I mentioned I would have been there right now. I think this is the same jungle. You are talking about the one on way to Lumparing, right?
      Those mornings were ❤ ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow nice snaps. Walking through pine trees must be an awesome experience. Let us hope that all our lives become normal soon.


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