Apricot Blossom Time

View from the school window in Patar Village, in the Kanibadam District: Apricot blossoms frame a window. Photo by Nancy

David writes about our stay in Tajikistan for his own email list. Sometimes I crib a thought or two, but this time I wanted to repost in its entirety. We both took the photographs. As to the writing, I put in the paragraphs. Otherwise, the following narrative is David’s. The photos follow.

Navruz really has ushered in the spring. For 35 miles or more along the road south of the Kairakum Reservoir, apricot trees are lavishly blooming in orchards that straddle the road and stretch down to the reservoir in the north and back sometimes almost to the mountains in the south. And they vie with each other like weeds for every patch of spare ground in the villages.

Dependent now on a water table fed by runoff from the mountains, in Soviet times, the trees were irrigated by means of electric pumping stations and miles and miles of concrete aqueducts. Now the aqueducts are broken and tumbled and the pumping stations frozen up with rust because there’s no longer enough electricity.

In every village and town, on both sides of every residential street, natural gas pipes with about a two-inch diameter run along the walls that enclose the houses. You can reach up about a foot or so over your head and touch them. They rest on metal struts secured to the ground. When the pipes reach an intersection, they bend up, cross the street and bend back down in a serious of right angles that provide a passageway for cars, vans, and busses. Smaller pipes diverge from these larger ones and run into each house along the street.

I wouldn’t call this delivery system safe because any vehicle could ram and destroy the supporting struts. And a suicidal vandal with a hammer and a match could unleash the furies. But in Soviet times it got the gas to where it needed to be, and I’ve seen on the Russian documentary channel the same system today in rural Russia. But now since the Uzbeks have closed the gas valves, the pipes scale and buckle and sunder and would need to be replaced from square one if the Tajiks and Uzbeks should ever strike a deal.

Thus as the wave of empire recedes, it leaves a technological jetsam and a cultural vacuum. So Hadrian’s Wall stands abandoned and crumbling at the high water mark of Roman expansion. And when Rome could no longer afford to maintain its legions in Britain, the Britons were abandoned to defend themselves against the pesky Picts as best they could.

And thus as economies wither, cultural beacons retreat from the far-flung corners they once illuminated and settle back toward the centers of contracting wealth and waning power from which they emerged. So the libraries of Khotan and Bukhara and a thousand others, past, present, and future, fall prey to the worms when taxation and ordered authority can no longer nourish them. So the flourishing entrepôts of the Silk Road vanished under the sands, and the empty shopping malls of northwest Ohio wax weedy and crooked as fingers are sacrificed to the cold when blood is needed at the heart.

Apricot orchards line the road, from the Kairakum Reservoir on the north to the mountains in the south. Photo by Nancy

Apricot blossoms, March 31, 2012, near Kanibadam, Tajikistan. Photo by Nancy

Apricot orchard near Kanibadam, Tajikistan on March 31, 2012. Photo by David.

Boys working in an apricot orchard along the road near Kanibadam, Tajikistan, on March 31, 2012. Photo by David.

Advertisements
Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Post navigation

2 thoughts on “Apricot Blossom Time

  1. Russell

    Hope you’re there for the harvest – naturally tree ripened apricots have vanished from our shops, and they’re so delicious. David’s writing was a little autumnal – have you altered the colour of the pics to match the mood? I imagine startlingly blue skies and the vivid green of spring, but everything looks somehow grey-ish.

    • The grey sky was just an artefact of that day, and we are waiting for the apricots. I hear that there is an abundance of local fruit of many kinds and it is all delicious. I am looking forward to that, but it will be a while yet. I believe the first seasonal fruit is cherries. Hey, it’s nice being able to access my own blog again — thanks to VSO volunteer Derek who figured it out and walked David and me through the process of downloading the appropriate application.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: