As winter fades into spring, the days become a little longer and cold wind’s bite slightly eases. Winter’s intensity froze the environment and its halt on life brought a comfort of sorts; animals were brought in near the winter houses and fed fodder, which gave herders a break, especially at New Year, a time for weddings, meeting friends or investing in lives to come and going on pilgrimage, sometimes as far as Lhasa.
The coming of Spring brings everyone back to the reality of life, and with it, of worry. Two months lie between the end of winter and the time when the pasture turns green again. During this interval, when the earth is loose and the wind blows it into dust storms, female yaks will give birth and marmots will pop out of their holes, their young running and playing with screeching sounds. Horse races begin, bringing excitement and over a hundred horses from all over the region to race on the empty plains. Fast melting spring snow will bring promise of new grass and the singing of birds will be in the air. Still, as the herder’s gaze scans the brown expanse of exhausted pasture, several questions will arise; will there be enough light snow to lure the pasture into growing grass?, will the weaker sheep and winter born lambs survive the slow greening of the pasture? Will the animals be spared disease?
Slowly, the hills turn a light new green, precursor of the intense emerald characteristic of summer. Spring is a time of hope, and of waiting.