Steppe: a large, flat area of land with grass and very few trees especially in Eastern Europe and Asia.
Merriam-Webster Learner’s Dictionary, 2017
The scars of human activity defy the dictionary description. For centuries people have dug into the steppe’s belly extracting coal and ore. For centuries the slagheaps have been growing nearby. The war came seven years ago with its mine-craters and shell-holes. Hiding from the metal flying around, the people covered the area with trenches and dug-outs. No mercy to each other, no mercy to the “flat area with grass”.
But the steppe will survive. Like it did after the hurricane of WW2 that scorched this land 80 years ago. Will the people survive? They hide from each other’s shots, (while seeking targets for shots of their own); more metal flies. Ten thousand four hundred have died in this war by December 2017. Most of them are buried here, in the steppe. Many were put to rest where they had come from: hundreds of villages and towns in Ukraine and Russia. The steppe is silent, the steppe keeps low profile…