The hills are alive...
With birdsong, with dry leaves crunching under your feet, the splash of water as the dogs dive into a pool, the wind in the trees and through the grass, the pebbles dislodged and rolling as you climb and most of all....the stillness between the sounds.
I’ve always loved the sea and when we moved inland twenty years ago, I knew I would miss it. The hills were for holidays – a break from the heat. Now I wake up in the morning and look out at the mist covered hills as I wait for the kettle to boil and its magic touches me, every single day. There’s something soothing about the ridges of the hills against the blue sky but the best part about the hills is that you can climb them. And when you have two young, frisky dogs like we do, it’s a joy that is many times multiplied.
In Pune, where we live, you’ll find people of all ages climbing up the hills that are so much a part of its geography. From seven to seventy, this is where many come for their daily exercise, away from the pollution and the grime of the traffic-ridden roads. These are its green lungs and they provide a wonderful view of the city but in the wake of beauty, there will always be greed. Slowly but surely, the hills are being encroached upon and though they are supposed to be green areas, overnight, there could be a structure that comes up, blocking a bit of the view with its concrete opacity.
So the only thing one can do – besides sending in letters and taking part in protests - is to enjoy it while it is there. The magic of the hills is best experienced when you take the paths less trod. We go with friends who bring their two dogs too and there are stretches where we don’t see another soul. The dogs love to splash in the little pond that’s tucked away in an unfrequented corner and there’s nothing quite like getting to the top, huffing and puffing and breathing in the fresh air. Of course, our kids, when they do come along, just run up with the dogs just like we would have done a few decades ago.
I wonder how long we’ll be able to enjoy the simple pleasures of life around us. For us, it’s the hills, for others it could be a walk in the woods or the beach, away from the madding crowd, just you and the beauty that Nature offers freely and so generously to you. I really do wonder.