11 November 2004

Call of the hills

My 6 months of allowed 'adjustment period' is coming to an end. And I think it really is. It's finally sunken in that I'm hear to stay. In the heart of this ultra-urban, time-squeezed, smog-choked city of stone I will make my abode. But what has also sunken in, is that I can choose how to live. I will go on whining like everybody else about how bad is traffic and how expensive is food & parking but it doesn't mean I cannot find beauty in this place.

One 'call' I've harkened to, is the call of the hills. All this while I've been looking in the direction of the city, trapped by it. Hating it yet unable to escape it. Running out of it as quickly as I can, yet returning to it again and again. Until I finally tore away and took a look in the other direction... And lo and behold, what do I see? Right in my backyard, are the highlands that makes KL a valley.

The Titwangsa Range descending into its southern tip, yielding its heights right east of the city.

The path from Pandan/Ampang to the foothills of Gunung Nuang is but 22km away. To the Gabai waterfall, 25km. Just 10km up is the lookout point where you can catch the city blanketed under a thick smog just before you leave it behind and ascend into the lush rainforest. I've started mapping out the trails, orchards, rivers and cascades. Bit by bit, I am going where the road leads, and where there is no road.

This journey of discovery has just begun. Many secrets of the forest, many treasures of the wild, remain to be found. Thank God for these pockets of nature I can retreat into every so often - to regain my sanity, restore a vision of beauty, and reinstill solitude within.

I lift up my eyes to the hills - where does my help come from?

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