Women of the pasture

Skies on the plateau are magical. I was blessed with so many different weather in one day there was never shortage of sights to catch my attention and imagination. I like cloudy days the best here.

For a few days, I got up when the women got up and filmed every step of their everyday lives. Their patience and grace when they do these very repetitive labor really moved me. So much so that I think the story should be carried mostly by them. A lot of what they do is about rhythm: milking the yaks definitely is, churning the buttermaker is, and so is spinning the yak hair threads, hand-rolling the butter, etc. etc. Even spreading the wet yak dung in the backdrop of a dawn sky is beautiful in my eyes, especially when Danku’s mother was doing it. She doesn’t have a pretty shape and looks way older than her age, but it was the attentiveness that made her moves graceful. Sometimes, she would chant when she turned the butter machine. The yellowish butter and the pure white liquid that would later be made into dry cheese flow out of the machine in rhythm too.

The old herder’s daughter in-law, Yeedan, who can move much faster than Danku’s mother has a slightly different rhythm. She ran briskly to catch their family’s more playful baby yaks and less obedient mommy yaks. She couldn’t milk as fast as Danku’s mother so he got up even earlier in the morning. On one of the sunny afternoons, Yeedan was out collecting dried yak dung. A thunderstorm accompanied by heavy wind moved in abruptly. Yeedan, in fuchsia colored short sleeve shirt dashed across the field to save her cheese out drying in the open. It looked as if she was slicing the navy-blue sky away from the green pastureland.

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