The Sandbox

GWOT hot wash, straight from the wire

Welcome to The Sandbox, a forum for service members who have served or are currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, returned vets, spouses and caregivers. The Sandbox's focus is not on policy and partisanship (go to our Blowback page for that), but on the unclassified details of deployment -- the everyday, the extraordinary, the wonderful, the messed-up, the absurd. All correspondence is read, and as much as possible is posted, lightly edited. If you know someone who is deployed who might have something to say, please tell them about us. To submit a post click here.

SPLASHES OF COLOR |

March 25, 2013

Name: The Afghan Battle Fox
Returned from: Afghanistan
Hometown: Clyde, Ohio
Milblog: Afghan Battle Fox's Blog
Email: lambmommy@gmail.com

Framed ABF Splashes 1The first picture I took when I returned to the United States was of the plush, green grass in Mississippi. It was comforting to see those long blades of grass under the large shade tree outside of my barracks. I knew I was back on American soil.

The cooling shade of a tree, the feeling of soft grass under my feet, and the sweet smell of flora had long escaped me. The hard ground under my feet for the past six months had been nothing but rocks, gravel, sand, and dry, cracked Earth. There were very few trees on the posts and in the villages I visited. The few trees I did see were small and offered little shade. The Afghanistan air was hot and dry and, after Spring had ended, it hardly ever rained. The arid conditions were not optimal for plant growth, so areas not near rivers or streams were fairly barren. With even the slightest of breezes, sand blew through the air. It coated everything and hid in the tiniest of crevices. The stronger the wind, the hazier the view. Blue skies often turn beige due to the blowing sand.

On occasion, however, I would encounter a minute splash of brilliant color in my mostly washed-out world.

I happened upon a few flowers in my travels, some wild and some groomed by Afghans, blooming in places that I wouldn’t have expected them. Most of them looked oddly placed -- a single shrub in the middle of a compound, a row of five single flowers growing up through the rocks, and a solitary rose bush in the tall grass behind a barn where no other flowers grew. On one multi-national post, an atrium held six grand flower pots full of beautifully-colored roses, and then there were the naturally growing clusters of poppies that grew briefly in the Spring behind my tent. The array of hues were a wonderfully heart-warming contrast to my Army-green, sand-filled, and monochromatic world.

Framed ABF Splashes 2

On the Afghan Border Police post in Haritan.


Framed ABF Splashes 3

In the village of Kwahan, Badakhshan Province.


Framed ABG Splashes 4

In the atrium on Camp Marmal, near Mazar-e-Sharif.


Framed ABF Splashes 5

Behind my tent near Mazar-e-Sharif.

 

Framed ABF Splashes 6

In the 5th Zone Afghan Border Police compound.


Comments

The first picture, in Haritan, seems to be a pomegranate.

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