It’s 11 in the night, and the mist that’ll hang about in the morning tomorrow is still high up in the sky, blocking out the stars. The city lights reflecting off this low cloud cover has given the sky an orange tinge.. a stifled, stuffy feel. These are probably the last days of winter and after this begins a new cycle. Most things continue onto this new cycle, and every other cycle that will follow it but for some things, this winter is the last.
In this peaceful neighbourhood, where the promise of money hasn’t touched any street to arcades, where the houses are still homes that people live in and not leased out offices; in this neighbourhood one can still afford to take a stroll. The roads are rough but clean. The footpath maybe missing at points, but it still faithfully follows the road. And the tress.. silently standing guard to the metalled arteries. Whoever planned this neighbourhood didn’t plan very well, as is evident by the varied assortment of trees. So you have a flame of the forest competing with the purple jacaranda while the yellow powdered copper-pod stands somberly, looking queerly out of place. Bright, gay Tabebuias arch lazily across the community park and stare in indignation at the coconut trees that proudly stand tall. But these are the minor trees.. the ones that merely line the roads. They flower in spring, shed their leaves in fall and grow new ones, repeating this cycle over and over. There are however, sentinels that are evergreen. These huge and majestic trees cover every home here, stand at every corner and at every turn. Yet they cannot be noticed. It’s probably cause they’re so old and have been around for so many hundred years that people fail to see them. Oh, but they’re there. Let one be cut or uprooted and then the loss is felt. Ironic, that we need to lose something to realise its worth.
But on this winter’s night, all the trees are asleep. It’s neither autumn nor spring nor summer, and the trees are all waiting for the start of a new cycle. Behind the clouds the stars may twinkle, but there’s no way of knowing. Orion may have come up in the sky and the Ursa major spanning the horizon, but i shall never know. The deep blue darkness of the sky is missing too, but above the clouds i know it stretches unnervingly, with its sharpness and clarity. The wind is missing too. In the summer, it carries the leaves and the dust, making a fanfare of its motion. Never hot, the breeze flows in great volumes, never quite fast. Perhaps she rests in the afternoons, but its only a pause. Summer is one big movement of cool mountain wind down to the hot plains. The monsoon winds, on the other hand, aren’t quite as modest. They ride abreast the precipitation clouds, bending trees and causing water to be carried within. It gushes all day, seemingly indefatigable. By far, the winter wind is however, the quietest. It cannot be seen as it carries with it neither leaves nor dust; cannot be heard cause it doesn’t rush through the trees. It flows both in volume and speed and yet is imperceptible. You can feel the cold however, that flows into your lungs and spreads through it a chillness. The first breath of air that catches your throat is the day winter arrives.
But today, it is leaving. The lands are paused, like the trees. That pregnant gap between the end of a season and the start of another. Perhaps tomorrow, the new cycle begins, perhaps the day after. But it will, and then once again the wheels shall move.
I return to the house that was my home for so long with its cold marble tiles, bare without the furniture the movers have taken away. Eerie and still, it too awaits a new cycle. But for me, my tryst with it has ended. The trees and the wind will eternally have their cycles, alas, but for life that doesn’t gift eternal youth.