Summer has always been associated with holidays, vacations and family get-togethers. However, this year, with COVID-19 being omnipresent, things have been a little different, to say the least.
So, we all did something different; something out of the ordinary. I, for one, started nature walks. And the experience has been an eye opener for me. We have always been surrounded by the diverse flora and fauna the North Bengal region hosts, but the appreciation for it was mostly lost on me. But over the recent past, and thanks in part to the lockdown, I have had all the time in the world to stand, stare and absorb the beauty of nature.
The flowers staged a colour riot
I started noticing the numerous flowering trees that had been thoughtfully planted in straight lines, flanking every lane in neat rows. The beauty of it all was that each lane had trees that bore flowers of a single colour; one can almost name each lane depending upon the flower or the colour of flowers that adorn it.
The jacarandas had flowers in lilac, pink and yellow forming a colourful carpet lining the roads. Meanwhile, the gulmohars bedecked the streets with red — as if setting the stage to welcome a king. The plumerias, or champas as they’re commonly known, filled the air with their heady fragrance and the red bottle brushes hung from the branches, almost bending them over with their weight. The red blooms on the palash or ‘flame of the forest’ trees attracted birds of all shapes and sizes, while the cassias or amaltas bloomed with yellow flowers hanging from branches like bunches of grapes.
Not to be outdone, there are smaller bougainvillea blooming in pastel shades of pink, magenta, red, yellow, white, mauve, oranges — the list goes on.
Even fruit trees are in abundance
Talking of summer, one cannot not mention mangoes. During my walks, I found practically every second house had mango trees, all laden with fruit. It took great willpower to resist reaching out to pluck them. And the same goes for other fruit trees such as lychees, bananas, papayas and jackfruits – all a common sight and mostly taken for granted.
Then there are the wildflowers, which as the name suggests, grow wild in the luxuriant undergrowth. They have a beauty unique in itself, like something meaningful and worthwhile emerging from the chaos around it. Also, where there are flowers, there are bound to be butterflies, bees and birds — each vying for some nectar.
Nature appreciation has been a heady experience
They say every cloud has a silver lining. Likewise, it is evident that nature has definitely flourished in these otherwise troubled times. It is almost as if nature is rejoicing, thanks to reduced noise, pollution, vehicular traffic and human interference. Rare birds can be spotted and they’re thriving in the now peaceful surroundings.
This appreciation of nature started as a means to constructively use my time. However, the joy and peace it has brought in my life has made it almost an addiction, something I strongly advocate to people around me. Perhaps begin with only a brief morning walk.