Time (Boutaghrar, Valley of the Roses)

Camel on wall

A small white camel drawn in a child’s hand at the top of a low arch on an adobe wall. The wall is around 500 years old but the painting is more recent. The arch leads through to a courtyard of the kasbah on the edge of the river valley. On the flats below are small plots of young barley and alfalfa bordered with damask rose bushes. It is too early in the season for blooms – ‘come back in May, the valley is beautiful then’. The walnut trees have lush shoots but no leaves yet. The wind from the Atlas is cold and  chills the tea in our glasses – the snow has gone from here just a month or so.  Poplars bend and stream in the wind, leaves silver and vivid green. A farmer burns his prunings down on the river bank but the wood is damp and the fire is smoky. A donkey brays and everywhere is the sound of water falling.


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