THE SUN was already on its way up this morning as I got out of bed at 8.15am - somewhat late though, even without a night of New Year’s eve festivities. A whatsapp message had just come in earlier. Guessing it was my daughter on her way back from a Mount Kosciousko National Park (in Australia) trip, I checked my i-phone. It was her. That of course lead to reading all the New Year messages that had come in. I normally do not check my i-phone first thing upon arising. BUT today was the New Year. It was nice to acknowledge those warm greetings on such a day. All this took time of course. A rescheduling of what I had wanted to do today was necessary. The walk that I had thought of the night before had to be later in the morning. Lunch had to be cooked first - so hubby wouldn’t be cross again because of hunger pangs due to a late cooked meal.
What simple lunch - a one dish one, could I make before I set off on my walk? A vegetarian paella. Of rice cooked with naturally brewed soya sauce, ginger and garlic paste, olive oil and dried chillies, with roasted vegetables and garden herbs freshly picked, mixed in. Accompanied by a fresh salad on the side. So that done, and having had a freshly blended juice of pineapple celery mint followed by a bowl of fresh fruit topped with oat squares, yoghurt and slivers of almond flakes and freshly brewed coffee, I set off. For University Malaya close by.
University Malaya has ample forested patches and mature trees. Some line a steep winding road with minimal vehicular traffic passing through the University grounds. I particularly like this stretch of road - its quieter. I get to hear the birds and the crickets and the road reaches a high point before it descends, winding down. It is a physically challenging stretch of walk within the University grounds - if you are unfit.
I parked my car at 11.15am under the shade of two Bottle Brush trees, in one of the UM car parks. Hat and sunglasses on, and a Penan (Indigenous tribe in Sarawak) rattan uyut back pack basket - slung over my back containing my water bottle, I strode off. It was a beautiful very sunny day of clear blue skies. Only an occasional wisp of a cloud. The tall cinnamon shrubs lining the road were sending out their red leaves in their upper canopy. Likewise there was an odd mature tree or two beginning to show its bright red flowers. All calling out to be noticed! I was beginning to feel my heart. It felt quiet, still and soothed. Even though there were some vehicles plying regularly along on the road. There was hardly anyone walking at that hour - so close to midday.. Only an occasional lone student.
As I reached the steep winding stretch of road, it became really still -no more vehicles plying the road. Only a lone student freshly showered and smelling clean of his shower soap, walked down past me. As I walked up, passing leaf litter on the side slopes and moss on the ground, I could hear the birds, the crickets. A lone sunbird called out loudly while sheltering from the midday heat, camouflaged amongst the leaves of a tree. I stopped briefly to gaze at the mature trees on the slopes. Expressing gratitude for their ecosystem services upon which man depends upon for our well being.
Walking on I wondered could I make it to the highest point of the road before noon when the sun would be directly right above me in the sky? I didn’t rush, just took my time but walking at a good pace. When I reached the highest point on the road at 12 noon, the sun was not directly above me. It was about 20 degree away from being directly above me.
Choosing to return the way I had come, I arrived back at my car at 12.35pm. The sun was now directly above me - half an hour after noon. As I turned to get into my car, I remembered the Bottle Brush trees that had shaded my car. Walking to each of them I placed my palms on their deeply wrinkled trunk, then onto my heart and forehead, thanking them.
Thayanithi Kulenthran, 1st Jan 2019.