Scale in Uzbekistan outwits humans. The heft of the USSR bloc architecture resonates with Timurid relics, which quake under lessons of largeness given by desert kingdom ruins. Vast historical stages hauntingly evocative of de Chirico, the metaphysical painter of empty cities, met me with portentous silence, whether out in the far Karakalpakstan desert beyond Bukhara or within the madrasa-turned-caravanserai at the heart of Samarakand's Registan. What ambitious peoples have marked this land. What relentless sun and sand and wind have sundered their marks. We build to withstand our certain demise, our humble fragile bodies so easily overwhelmed by this air and ground. Higher, larger, weightier we go, striving to match the earth's magnitude.