In the town of Tashkurgan, home of the Tajik people in Xinjiang, bordering Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Pakistan, I met this boy in the old mountainous Pamir region. It is said that this town marks the middle way between Europe and China. The faces I saw there were unforgettable.
What is it that really looks out of the eyes of children? Do we know what we are dismissing when tell a child to just run along as they ask us some difficult questions? What is asking those questions? Aren’t children carrying the beacon of the future? If we dismiss them, aren’t we gambling with the future? They see how big we are, how seemingly more knowledgable we appear, how much more experience we have and they assume that we have the answers. Then we go on to avoid the answers, give wrong ones or simply send them away rejected and with that breaking that line of trust they were willing to extend to us. Wouldn’t it be much better to admit that we don’t know either and to work it out together with the young humans? I wonder…
photo taken: little girl in the mountain village of Tashkurgan~ Xinjiang
On the high mountains, you become an intimate friend of suns, stars and planets…
Up there in towns like Tashkurgan, people know what stars move in the night sky, what the sun is up to in his travels during the day and what kind of weather that will bring the next days and weeks. The smog of the city does not reach them and does not dare build a screen between them and the heavens. These people are touched by nature, they are flirting with the elements and are given access to knowledge beyond the ordinary and above the explainable.
photo taken: a boy or I should say a young gentleman weathered by the proximity of the sun in Tashkurgan~ Xinjiang
green eyed girl in Tashkurgan
As children run wild, they carry with them the giggling essences of the land, rivers and mountains…
Tashkurgan, a gem of a city, surrounded by golden grasslands, snow capped Pamir mountains, streams, expansive skies and filled with friendly Tajik people who welcome a traveler with bright smiles as they always have when their city was a main stop on the old silk road. Drive 2 hours and you will be in Pakistan, Tashkurgan (literally stone fortress) was once the capital of the Sarikol Kingdom. Now Tashkurgan is part of China’s Xinjiang province and access to it is determined by permits and a military checkpoint about tow hours away on the Karakorum highway. I was very lucky to spend time with its children, to walk its streets and to breathe its fresh air.
closer to the heavens
They say when something is far from your eyes it is also far from your heart and mind…
I wonder about our lives in this century so often and how much of our lives are spent in boxes both inside our minds and inside our homes. All we have to do to be awed by nature is to see nature, and to feel the magnificence of the planet we call home. I have found that the most religious people I have ever met are those who choose to be close to the earth and to the sky, who choose the simple life instead of the complicated and who find their god in the open skies and in the tiniest of flowers. It is such a pity that most of us these days see our flowers on ipad and computer screens and how little chance we have to experience life with all of our senses.
photo taken: a couple of shepherds in the grasslands of Tashkurgan near the Pakistani border~ Xinjiang.