Wednesday, June 18, 2008

What is the Steppe?

So a few weeks back I finally watched Nomad: The Warrior. This is a movie set in Kazakhstan telling the story of how the Kazakh tribes united against the evil guy from somewhere else. Overall, it was not the best movie. It is billed as an action flick, but the battle and fight scenes are all pretty mundane. It was entertaining to watch in Kazakh though. And I may watch it again in order to learn some useful dialogue (e.g. "Surround them.")

One thing I did notice from the movie was the complete lack of trees in the Kazakh landscape. Honestly, there was one tree in the whole movie, and it was of course a sacred tree. This lone arbol was the place where our hero gathered to collect his thoughts and such. This began to worry me. Because I love trees. Love them. I love to look at them, walk under them, rest against them, etc. I'm surprised my favorite book as a child wasn't The Giving Tree. But in order to cope with this new fear that my future home would only have one tree, I began joking with people about the fact that there were no trees in Kazakhstan. But of course, I knew there would be. There had to be.

And then I finally googled "steppe." The steppe is what the climate/vegetation zone is for most of the country. In my mind, it was this grassy plain area with vast expanse and rolling hills. Sort of like the Midwest or something. The first result was Wikipedia and so I followed that link ( The first sentence says, "In physical geography, a steppe is a grassland plain without trees (apart from those near rivers and lakes)." Without trees. It's in the definition.

Now, I have also learned that there are wild apple trees in Kazakhstan and the country is literally huge. So, yes, there will be trees there. But over the next two months, I'm going to be appreciating all of the trees around here so much more.

1 comment:

Brian Levy said...

My favorite childhood book WAS The Giving Tree. Except for maybe Babar. Anyway, ironically the tree gives apples in the book. Maybe it was a Kazakh tree?