Summer Solstice, June 20-24 – Celebrating the Fecundity of Life Forms at Savista
Extreme summer has arrived in Jaipur. But even through the heat haze, blistering sun and blinding glare that are the hallmarks of this season, there is much to celebrate at Savista.
Just two mild showers – that came down when nature itself couldn’t bear the burden of the still heat any longer – have turned the browning meadows of Savista back into their verdant green.
Creamy Frangipani, brilliant white Jasmine, Golden Tecoma, pink Lagastromia, bunches of red,pink and white Quisqualis, gaudily bright and decorative Gulmohur, and multi-hued Bouganvillea are bursting blooms everywhere. The brilliant yellow flowers of the Indian Laburnum (also called the Golden Rain Tree) that gave us so much pleasure through the early days of summer, have just finished their cycle of effervescent flowering. They will return a year from now, to herald the start of the new summer.
Flocks of the over 85 varieties of birds that we have identified so far on our property are flying around. Getting to eat their fill day after day, the warblers among them, always hopping around in groups, never seem to tire of making pleasant music; the Koel (Indian Nightingale), the symbol of summer in the northern Indian plains, shyly sings its sad song plaintively from behind the obscurity of thick foliage; the Brainfever Bird tries his best to drive us nuts with his persistent and long drawn scream; and the Peacocks call out raucously every time they see a passing dark cloud in the sky.
The humidity set off by the recent rain showers has given birth to an explosion of insect life. We are not only welcoming back the usual ants and beetles of all sizes, but also the exotic red beetle, seen only during the pre-monsoon weeks every year where do they come from?), and the dramatic looking yellow-blue-bottle green grasshoppers that migrate here from Africa every year to lay their eggs and raise new families before they all return to their native continent at the end of the monsoons. Nobody is happier to see the array of insects than the birds who, after gorging themselves on ripe grains through late spring and early summer – when we harvested our wheat, mustard and quinoa crop -, are now enjoying a more diverse non-vegetarian fare!
And this year we have the unique joy of witnessing the birth of our first-ever lambs to be born at Savista. Two cuddly little tightly- curled boys in white and black whom we have named Omkar (son of Omana) and Baiju (son of Banu), and who followed each other in a matter of days. Two more are due very soon!
The Rajasthan summer may be a season of discomfort for us humans. But it is a season of fertility and renewal for nature.