Friday, 7 April 2017

F is for Forest Finds #AtoZChallenge

Growing up  in green, green Dehradun meant that forests were never too far to visit.

Far, far away when I was not yet five, silver ferns growing on the hill sides of Mussoorie left imprints of their veins on my chubby hands. I don't know who showed me the tattooing quality of this fern that grows abundantly in these parts, but it left a mark. I'm not sure if it was my father or grandfather who first pointed out a leaf or a tree or a branch or a bird and said, 'look'.

That first look and I was hooked. It was before I started going to 'proper' school. I remember that clearly. My memories of trees are older than A, B, C.

Did the forest find me or did I find me in a forest? Who knows. But what started at five (or was it four?) has blossomed and bloomed over the years. And at least once a year his magnetic pull drags me out of my urban walls and plants me on a trek or a walk  or an aimless wander among his trees and brooks and leaves. He greets me like family and I find the familiar in his dried pine leaves that go crunch when I step on them, in the velvet moss that gathers on his oaks, in the feisty display of his rhododendrons, in birds that chirp in boughs of his trees, in mice that scuttle across his path, in blooms that grow in his lap nestled in the Himalayas. The forest feels like home. One day, when my duties as mother and nurturer are done, I will find my way back to him and stay forever.

For now, photos and clicks keep me company till my next visit. Come, feel the forest's generous heart with words of Rumi because what Rumi says, I feel. I think you may, too.

The following extract is from 
'The essential Rumi' 
Coleman Barks


The universe is a form of divine law,
your reasonable father.

When you feel ungrateful to him,
the shapes of the world seem mean and ugly.

Make peace with that father, the elegant patterning,
and every experience will fill with immediacy.

Because I love this, I am never bored.
Beauty constantly wells up, a noise of springwater
in my ear and in my inner being.
Tree limbs rise and fall like the ecstatic arms
of those who have submitted to the mystical life.

Leaf sounds talk together like poets
making fresh metaphors. The green felt cover slips,
and we get a flash of the mirror underneath.

Think how it will be when the whole thing
is pulled away! I tell only one one-thousandth
of what I see, because there's so much doubt everywhere.

But Father Reason says,
No need to announce the future!
This now is it. This. Your deepest need and desire
is satisfied by the moment's energy
here in your hand.

Humble living does not diminish. It fills.
May your hearts be filled with light and love.

These pictures were clicked in June 2016 on the way to Wan village. It had rained the previous day. The path we took through this beautiful forest of oaks, junipers, rhododendrons and pines was soggy, slushy and slippery. After many slips and near slips and muddy bottoms and a loud(ish) game of I spy (to keep an ear out for all in the group), we reached the road that would lead us back to our urban walls. 
Farewells are never easy.
Forest Research Institute of India (FRI for short) has its headquarters in Dehradun, my hometown. It was a popular destination for school picnics when I was little. It feels surreal to find FRI on 
If you ever find yourself in Uttarakhand, do visit FRI.

As if by magic, a friend shared this video on facebook today and all the f's lined up in harmony...check out:
forest bathing


  1. Beautiful! I've always loved the forest. I'm writing a novel that's set in the forest. Your details really take me there!

    1. Thank you Heather. All the best with the novel.

  2. I love forests too- I plan to use easter break to visit one :)

    1. That sounds lovely. Spring is so special in a forest. Enjoy.

  3. It really comes through both the words and the photos, how much you love forests. I can totally understand because I am the same. Forests or the sea - they are my perfect places :) Thank you for sharing, it looks like an amazing area!

    Today on my Journey To Courageous Living my belated F is for  a fun post. - I think. But you'll be the judge of it so come, check it out ;)

  4. sorry for this late entry but I've been kind of distracted although your blogs are what I've been consistently reading these days. Complete credit to you having got me hooked back on .

    loved your description of what a forest feels like and how beautiful that world is-the world we actually ought to pay ample attention to .

    Dehradun seems to be beckoning more and more as you blog - fingers crossed for a trip to those parts.

    bless you Arti.

  5. Your post took me back to school days! Love to go and revisit FRI..thanks for this beautiful post.

    1. It's still so beautiful. Let's go:) xx


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