Friday, February 15, 2013

What can I give him ii

    We came onto a vehicle track.
    Tires had gouged a glutinous
    dark brown strip, twenty feet
    wide. My boots stuck to the
    mud, so I walked on the ice 
    in the roadside ditches. This
    was better, except when the
    ice broke and my feet plunged
    into cold water. Babur was now
    coated in black mud. We had
    been walking for nine hours.

    Daulatyar was only fifteen
    kilometers away and there were
    probably two hours of daylight
    left, but I had forgotten how
    much deep mud and wet snow 
    slowed my pace. I felt muffled
    in the snow-fog and imprisoned
    by the rain hood I was wearing.
    I threw back the hood. I could
    hear and see again. The day was
    very silent and the plain seem-
    ed very large. The snow driving
    into my eyes at a forty-five de-
    gree angle made me feel much
    freer, but my left foot seemed
    frozen to a cold iron plate.

An immortal book? A certain
masterpiece, in the English
language; an act of inquiry
driven by the heart? I will
trade all majesty for words
into Aghanistan. Right now.

Rory Stewart
The Places in Between
Picador, 2004©

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