Friday, January 10, 2014

Carpe Diem #371, Irtysh River

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

What a joy to have given another new day. As I awoke the sun was already playing with my body and that was a nice surprise, because we had very bad weather the last days, so the sun is very welcome here in The Netherlands. After doing some home-cleaning I finally have the time to write our next post in our trip straight through the Soviet Union on board of the Trans Siberian Railroad (TSR).
As I am traveling with you all straight through the biggest country on earth I am reading the Aleph by Paulo Coelho. In the novel I am almost in Novosibirsk, but first we have to cross the Irtysh River. The Irtysh River flows through  Siberia and Kazakhstan and is the chief tributary of the Ob River. Irtysh's main affluents are the Tobol River and the Ishim River. The Ob-Irtysh system forms a major drainage basin in Asia, encompassing most of Western Siberia and the Altai Mountains.
As we cross this river we are over 2700 km under way and that's almost one third of our trip.

Irtysh River

A number of Mongol and Turkic peoples occupied the river banks for many centuries. In 657, Tang Dynasty general Su Dingfang defeated Ashina Helu, qaghan of the Western Turkic Khaganate, at the Battle of Irtysh River, ending the Tang campaign against the Western Turks. Helu's defeat ended the Khaganate, strengthened Tang control of Xinjiang, and led to Tang suzerainty over the western Turks.In the 15th and 16th centuries the lower and middle courses of the Irtysh lay within the Tatar Khanate of Sibir, which the Russians conquered in the 1580s. In the 17th century the Zunghar Khanate, formed by the Mongol Oirat people, became Russia's southern neighbor, and controlled the upper Irtysh. The Russians founded the cities of Omsk in 1716, Semipalatinsk in 1718, Ust-Kamenogorsk in 1720, and Petropavlovsk in 1752.

Irtysh River

Through history the Irtysh River has seen a lot of battles on her banks. Several nations tried to annexate the rich banks of her watershed.

While we are crossing the Irtysh River Paulo and his companions on this trip are in a nice dispute. Paulo has ask them to ask him questions about the all day things were his companions have ideas about.
"Ask me whatever you like", Paulo says. The first to speak is Hilal and she asks him "Have you met me somewhere in the past?" At that moment Paulo answers: "It doesn't matter. You need to think about where each of us is right now, in the present moment. We're accustomed to measuring time in the same way we measure the distance between Moscow and Vladivostok,but that isn't how it works. Time neither moves nor is it stationary. Time changes. We occupy one point in that constantly mutating time - our Aleph. The idea that time passes is important when you need to know when a train is going to leave, but apart from that, it's not very useful at all, not even when you're cooking. After all, however often you make your recipe, it always turns out different". (Paulo Coelho - Aleph p.123-124)

Time Changes

Time changes, but were are all our memories of childhood for example? Those memories are put away in our subconsciousness and therefore they are somewhere in the Universe. Time changes, but Time is saved ... somewhere in the Universe ... and it will release our memories on the right moment as we need them. As we will see further in 'Aleph' the memories of the commonly history of Paulo and Hilal will finally be released.
Time ... what is it? Time is just dust in the wind or as Paulo says "like tears in the rain". Time is nothing ... release your memories as you need them ... and be sure ... if you need them the Universe will grant you insight.

time changes
seasons come and go always
the moon remains herself

the moon remains herself
through all of her different faces -
tides come and go

cherish time
memories will be released -
sunflowers bloom again

Well ... we are coming closer to the 'Aleph' and we will enter it, because we are all connected by our thoughts and memories, maybe we have met eachother in another time and place ... you never know ...

This episode will be open for your submissions until January 12th 11.59 AM (CET) and I will post our next episode, Omsk, later on today. !! Irtysh River is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) !!


  1. You've done a lot of homework, Kris, collecting all this interesting information as we travel through Russia. It has been a great trip so far and I am excited to continue! Thank you to all the new friends I've met on this trip for all your visits and comments on my blog. I appreciate each and everyone of them. Forgive me if I don't reply to all of them. Kris, thank you especially for taking the time to visit me and everyone in your busy schedule.

  2. I have been quite busy for a few days.. But I have pledged to do a haibun per day... I had already chosen to do time.. But a slightly different angle...I love the lyrical beauty in the three haiku you have written.. Lovely really.

  3. You really open up a beautiful, wild and mystical area of the world with these posts and haiku Chevrefeuille.