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I wandered into the field along the dirt road to explore the flora and the fauna. A kaleidoscope of spring flowers, dotted with herds of cattle, sheep, horses, and donkeys. The hyper goats and their babies preferred the rocky terrain, on its edge, climbing and leaping from the heights, and feasting on fresh herbs and blooms. The aroma of sage, rosemary, and oregano filled the air. No humans around, though. It seemed the fauna had the scene for their own amusement.

I was not to complain, as I trod on the young grass, taking care not to harm the beauties of early spring along my path.

Settled on a rock, I watched the vibrant scene as the animals shared nature’s bounty. I took photos, viewed them on my camera, and shot some more to capture the ambiance. At the end of the field, the dirt road snaked towards the village on the hills, after passing through a closed gate. The farmers had herded their livestock into the meadow for grazing till sunset.

In this part of the world, Spring is brief, fleeting like our youth. Hot summer sun burns the grass. The only plants that survive are the trees and thorny bushes. Flowers fade and the green becomes yellow.

I left the meadow with the villagers who came to gather their animals and lead them into the sheds. They offered me coffee at the coffee shop where men smoked and played backgammon. They were dressed in their all year round outfits, jackets worn over shirts, and trousers   The sound of rolling dice against the wooden board mixed with the background noise from the TV on the wall. Noisy, but not disturbing. Not that these people cared about what was happening in the world or in the country. Their world was their village. They had lived that way for centuries, despite devastating events that changed the lives of many. It was their way of survival, like the thorny bushes.

The village head, an old man swinging his worry beads around his wrist, sat next to me and spoke.

“Photographer lady, will you make us famous?”

“I take pictures for my own pleasure. If I publish or sell them, I rarely mention the place. Would you like me to?”

“Yes and no,” he said, taking a big slurp from his coffee. “This is still a protected site, but we don’t know how long it will last.” He pointed to the TV and folded his arms. “The developers are viewing the land, taking photos and measuring. We may not be able to live this way for long.”

I knew what he was talking about. Land profiteers, vultures that thrive on virgin soil. They were everywhere, digging mines, shaving off mountains, building hotel complexes, marinas, and power plants.

“What they do is against nature,” I said. “Yet, they have supporters in the government.”

“Isn’t it always so?”

“I came here to photograph Spring on these ancient lands. I witnessed it once before, but never managed to visit at the right time again when the combination of the animals and nature exist in such harmony.”

“Once harvest is over, the animals graze in the fields on the other side of the gate. Crop rotation, a four-hundred-year-old tradition.” He pointed to the area, peeking from beyond the houses.

“Spring is transient,” I said.

“Isn’t life?” he answered with a smile, tipping the brim of his flat cap.

 

I loaded my bags containing herbs, honey, and almonds from the local shop into the car, and left the village. Driving through magnificent scenery washed in the colours of sunset, I pondered whether I was spring grass, a thorny bush or an evergreen. Grass renews itself and dies, then comes back again. A thorny bush survives all circumstances. Nature is resilient. Bougainvillea bloom, pine trees grow into forests, from the tiny seeds hidden in their cones.

I decided not to publish any of the photos on my website. Let it be a well-kept secret, on my part. Perhaps I could post them as historical documents in the future.

 

 

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Photos from Google