Monday, March 30, 2009

Snow bells & early spring plants

Since the time I've moved out of tropical climate of India, I've got an opportunity to experience all the seasons in an year. In my home town I've seldom seen trees going completely bald, without flowers or leaves & looking like sticks standing to be chopped off. Most the plants there enjoy tropical climate without going into hibernation during late fall or winter. Even if they did, it's not that noticeable. So, well never knew what spring was nor fall.

The first year of my stay in Germany started in the mid of spring, where the ground was frost free & was no sign of snow any where. The only thing I remember telling AmAr was "Wow, how is it that everything stays so green & colorful here?" The camera was my to-go necessity like my purse. I was not good at photography then. I'd two mechanical cameras back home given to me by my Uncle & grand mum. The only disadvantage with them were, I'd to wait till the film was developed to find out my mistakes in a photo. Well, when I first came into Germany, AmAr gave me his camera, a digital camera to be precise, Kodak. Even though I've a better camera now, I was amazed to see so many features in the Kodak camera. I'd never known how to take close-ups of a flower or get the background & the foreground properly in the same photo. Well, I'd something to explore now.

The first trip was to Netherlands! I'd heard about Netherlands being famous for the Tulip gardens. By now, AmAr was already fed up of me screaming "WoW" at every other Tulip field we passed to reach the Keukenhof Gardens. I was shocked! to see what on earth the Dutch had created. Lisse is such a small town & it attracts tourists from the entire world just to see the beauty it proudly shows off in Spring. I literally went mad, when I saw so many colorful flowers in front of my eyes. It was probably the 3rd time AmAr was entering these gardens. If it was not for me, he would've have never driven for 5 hours continuously to see something what he'd already seen thrice. Anyway, I used the camera till the warning started flashing to recharge the battery & then it wouldn't turn on! Remember the song "Dekha ek khwab to" from the movie Silila, few scenes were shot in these fields. If you've forgotten, thanks to Youtube, you can view it here.

The winter of 2005 was mild & not that severe as everyone told me. But for me, it was more than what I'd expected. I knew it was going to snow, I would be seeing snow for the first time in my life. But, another surprising thing was that never expected that the trees & plants would shed their leaves & stand unwelcoming for the next 3-4 months! When the frost season set in, the grass was white, the branches of the trees were grey & no other color but grey or white was every where. It was so dull & depressing. The very thought of this happening every year for a duration of 3-4 months made me so unhappy. Even the wardrobe that people were wearing seemed to be colorless & dull; it would either be black or some other shade of black. The colors had vanished some how.

I was taking German lessons during this season. It was so annoying to get-up & reach these classes at 8 in the morning. I was being dropped every day & would take the bus back home. The bus stop was a good 15 minute walk for me. I hated to walk in this bad whether. But, the kids who used to take the same bus with me every day, had no sign of depression or they weren't even affected by winter. If there was heavy snow for few days, a good amount of snow would be waiting for these kids in the bus stop to play. They enjoyed skiing on it or even hitting each other with snow balls or making a snow man. Phew, I wondered how on earth could some one love this whether so much.

Anyway, the winter was slowly passing by & during one of my walks back home, I noticed that there were white colored drooping flowers that were trying to make their way out from the small buds, with their heads bent down. I was not only surprised, but also thrilled to find out that finally the grass had got it's color back & also there were flowering plants! They were snow bells. At last the ground was warm & the onions were out of hibernation! The other flowers that were making their presence felt were the Crocus. Multicolored, white, yellow, purple., etc. Within a few days, the winter decorations were out of the windows & doors in the neighborhood & colorful Easter bunnies & Tulips were in their place! It was such a pleasing sight to my eyes! Not only this, when we were returning back from the Gym in the evening riding our bikes through the fields, we even saw so many wild hares munching on carrots that were growing under the soil. A few weeks passed & the other bulb plants were slowly making their way out. The birds were returning back from their winter vacation too.

They are referred to as Snowdrops or Spring Snowflake. I prefer to call them Snow Bells (Die Schneeglöckchen, in German)

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