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Spring in the hills. Or, where does a circle begin?

Living with nature sets a rhythm. Life turns slowly, in a circle.

The seasons are the drumbeats. Life follows, offering tribute, offering itself as tribute.

Amongst people in whom this rhythm of nature is in the blood, there is no one day that marks the beginning of the year. For them, the year awakens slowly. It stretches languidly into flower.

It comes to life in the dawn of colour that is Basant. Spring.

How can this coming of life, this harvesting, this nesting, all be celebrated in one day? Oh no! Holi needs a week or two. Syalde Bikhuti - Baisakhi in Kumaon- spills over into many days.

​This is not just a celebration. It is a retelling of stories, a re-enactment of ancient wars and victories. But to me, it seems more than all this. In these parts, everything is a circle, turning slowly.

This circle moves in the slow, primal shuffle-step of all peoples who are bound to the Earth. It is the circle of men playing Holi at our hilltop shrine. It is the circle of village women in the courtyard, swaying to plaintive songs.

This is the circle of mothers, daughters, brides, matrons, fathers, sons.

The is the circle of life, in these parts, of no beginning and no end.

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