Summer Solstice: Safe & Small

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On the day of the summer solstice an international fire ceremony was held for the protection of the sacred karakol Valley. Despite my best intentions to attend I arrived late by a few hours. So, I went for a little solstice walk to a favourite spot. I came across two baby suslik – ground squirrel playing by the rocks. Susliks are shy and usually dive in and out of holes in the ground or under rocks. They are very indecisive when it comes to crossing roads, preferring to risk a last minute suicide than make a swift decision. On the day of the solstice however, these baby susliks were not shy at all and one of them even came and sat on my shoe. These photographs were not taken with a wizzo zoom lense. I was standing just a metre’s distance away. Perhaps, it was just that there was enough warmth around this summer solstice for even the very small to feel safe and stand tall.

2 responses to “Summer Solstice: Safe & Small

  1. Hi Joanna:
    Thanks for your recent blogs. I love the susliks! Also, the geological context made me yearn for the Altai. I’ll be ordering the book soon. Keep up all the great work. You have tremendous resiliency.

  2. Nice to see a respectful treatment of susliks. They are charming animals that through their collective action transform the Atial landscape one bite of grass at a time. They are generally in escape mode from their many predators but up close they would seem to have spunky personalities and even curious natures. Sort of inspiring really — these creatures have a lot going against them (hawks, dogs, cars, winter) but still manage to catch some sunshine and inquire about a visitor…thank you, Joanna.

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