We heard the foot-steps of summer and enjoyed the sun last week – not in its full glory and strength but enough to help the pines shake off their white attire and a few springs to wake up from their siesta and bless the valley with their murmur. The apricots are first to blossom with their white flowers while the berries followed them with pink buds all over. A few patches of green appeared inviting the wagtails to hop around while the river stretched both ways to recover lost ground. The snow receded to the shadows and remained only at the base of the pines patterned with brown pine needles.
The villagers came to check out their fields and summer homes. Devta (the local God) also came out from his winter recess. Everyone got ready for the ensuing Bishu festival scheduled on the middle of April to mark the sowing of seeds. The schools reopened and the young ones rushed. The boys went spinning their books on one finger while girls went swinging their pigtails with bright red ribbons.
And then we had a snowstorm. Not severe but enough to chase away the few birds into hiding and spread a thin white veil across the valley. The apricots suffered most with flowers catching the snow and transforming as if into cotton balls while the boulders looked solemn with fresh white caps adorning them. The only thing visible was the road which cut across the hills like a winding black snake. The villagers sat in groups, sullen and worried discussing about the poor harvest last year and speculating on the upcoming season.
The forecast says it will snow for a few more days and one can expect clear weather by the middle of this month. But the assurance will not prevent the villagers from sacrificing a few lambs to please their God and get his blessings.