iPhone Photography (HDR): A Coming Rain

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“iPhone Photography: A Coming Rain” / Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia / June 2014

Alone in the middle of Sukhbaatar Square watching dark clouds and a rainbow emerge from the distant buildings, I remembered my very first visit to a nomadic herder’s camp way back in 2004.  The elderly man, a good friend of a friend, stood at the entrance of his ger (a Mongolian yurt) gazing at the cloudy skies with a faint smile and with palms held open as if waiting to catch something from the heavens.  And then it happened.  Thin raindrops started to fall as we alighted from our car coming from a long, dusty travel from Ulaanbaatar. And when we have entered his ger and have settled by the fire, he took my hand warmly, offered me his snuff box (The tradition is for guests to catch a scent from their host’s snuff box) and told me that I bring  good things to his household as I have brought the rain for his flock.

After exchanging pleasantries over a hearty meal of stewed mutton, he ushered me to his horses’ corral, pointed me to a handsome, spotted pony – his best colt for the season — and declared that it’s now mine, a token of our newly-found friendship.  I did not (and can not) bring the pony with me but I thanked him profusely as I shook his hand before we left and made it a point since then to visit him every time I was in the country.  Unfortunately, I was not able to visit him this time around but I knew that he was out there in the steppe, under those clouds, perhaps at the foot of that rainbow, smiling and ever thankful for the rain — and for lasting friendships.  🙂

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