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  • Sitting in the little valley-village of doonga gali, 8,900 ft above sea level, I shake off the morning dreams of being in a very high tower's penthouse open balcony, trying not to fall off. The clouds are settling into to the trees of the pine forest, obscuring any more of the view and the pitter patter of rain on the tin roof is, to me, a lullaby.
    Today the monkeys did not jump on my roof top, so rare an occurance for mornings here. They didn't go tumbling onto to the trees, swaying in the saplings. Today the rain reigned. The mist mellowed the vista vast. And I lay catching up on my dreams.
    Away from the heat and bluster of town; the potholes of life, roads and peoples' complaints. I wonder to myself, as I do every time it come here, why I don't just spend a whole summer here; walking in the forests, taking in the daisies, the soft pine leaf flooring of winding roads and tiny pathways, endearingly called 'pathdundies'.
    I love the mountains; their glorious glamour, dizzying heights, precarious drop offs and endless trails made by both man and beasts, and the clouds floating in and out at their leisure. So often, climbing up through a tiny stream or rocky opening sends you spiralling into a grand valley beyond, unbelievably beautiful and wild. Birds and monkeys and creatures unseen, chatter to each other, busy in forest life. Butterflies flutter in grace, from treetop to wild flower, such is the glory of Allah.
    And at night, the twinkling stars, bright against the dark sky, shine through between the floating clouds languishing in their nests of trees. In between the twinkling lustre of the stars, flashes of distant lightning confuse the mind, till the rains and thunder are upon us, in the quick mountain way of weather changes.

    Know that the weather can change at an instant here. Know that the mist can hide drop offs of steep inclines. Know that pathdundies lead somewhere, often wonderful. Know that you are in the wild. When you accept the reality of your existence, you can stop struggling against it. You can stop complaining about its twists and turns. It is as of you struggle against an uphill trek through the highest mountains, without realising the vistas beyond, without accepting that there will be rocks and boulders in fact. They are there for reasons beyond you. Perhaps to buttress up the tide of rocks and mountain above and not just an obstacle put in your path. Know that. Know that you are here for a short time and these rocks and valleys have been here for centuries. Know that your path and journey entitle you to look about, take a break and internalise the beauty of life. You are not end all and be all. You cannot change the world, but you can change yourself.

    'Change yourself, and I will change your condition.' Allah above has declared. I read that in a Sufi saint's writings, and double checked in the Quran. Sure enough, the promise was there, and sure enough, it has made all the difference. If you cannot even change yourself, what arrogance do you walk with thinking you change the world. Apply those lofty standards to the self and walk a bit humbly through the mountains of life. Find the valleys of beauty, hidden just beyond. Wonder in the mists that obscure your vision, they cloak the surroundings for good reason. Stop complaining, start living, as you were meant to; stop struggling, start being, stop existing, start revelling.

    There is a mountain within and without, waiting for you to conquer its peaks, troughs, and valleys; waiting for you to take in the splendour of its pathways, if you but give yourself the chance, the breaks, the time. I see the mists clearing and the clouds rising. A peak beyond the next peak, reveals itself. And I yawn a lazy yawn. The rain is clearing up and I must be off on today's adventure.
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