Spring in Afghanistan is the time when kings go to war. It has been the time of war for as long as we can remember. The men, restless from their winter of inactivity, rush to spill the blood of their enemies onto the rain-softened ground. And I imagine the soil drank their sacrificial offering more out of necessity than desire.

In the days of my childhood, the pungent ripe earth would rouse from her winter sleep and groan in urgent birthing. Green grew soft and lush on the mountain slopes and in the freshly tilled ground. The smells of new beginnings filled our valley. Farmers spread ripe, sweet manure in the fields and wheatgrass sprang up overnight. Fields would carpet in days and within six weeks, the grass flowed like waves as afternoon storms rushed down from the mountains and swept along the valley floor.

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