Doug Bruns

The Minaj Plain

In Adventure, Death, Life, Travel on July 9, 2012 at 6:00 am

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Village barber, Rajasthan, 2007, © Doug Bruns

A journal note from October, 2007, Rajasthan, India, the Minaj Plain

The sun sets large on the Minaj plain. Three kilometers north a village bustles with evening preparations as penned lambs bleat. Nightfall returns mother and her milk. Herds of village-bound muted goats traverse the plain. Each hoof-drop triggers an explosion of red dust. Endless goat herds move west into the sun and roll off the edge of horizon.

Alone, I walk into their presence. So many beasts! They pass around me, flowing like a river. I am absorbed, a simple obstacle. Hundreds of goats. They move past, following the herder–but for one red goat, her head dropping with each labored telegraphed step; each advance perhaps the last.

The monsoons were heavy and the underbrush flourished. Thorns abound as agents of infection and death. The goat struggles, losing contact with the many, a victim of infection. She will return late; and some morning, tomorrow or perhaps the next, her journey will end.

A little thing will take us down. A cell goes haywire, a thorn infects. We lose contact with the herd. We eventually each return to night in silence.

The goat-herder, distant, his turban brighter at the horizon, turns–is he checking his charges? Or me?

I press my palms and bow. The gesture returned, he escapes to the edge of the earth. The halting goat follows in perfected uncomplaining silence


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