Sahara Moonset

Absolute silence.

Absolute stillness.

My breath creates the only sound, the only wind.

I kneel at the top of a dune; bathed in moonlight so bright it casts my shadow and washes our camp in its cool silver light. Orion sits over my head and the Big Dipper scoops along the horizon.

The sand, which is like a creature on the daytime winds, lies still, silent. The dunes undulations cast voluptuous waves of dark and light.

The silence hurts my ears. They seek and find no sound. None. Every sound I make is like a violation of something pure.

A thin trace of clouds catches the shimmering light as the moon descends to greet them.

It is cold.

I could die here and join this restless ocean of sand, wandering endlessly over the earth, creating and destroying vast mountainous dunes. It is ironic that the ocean, which appears to be moving, is in fact still, while the desert moves. The westerly winds carry it closer and closer to the Atlantic, threatening to consume all in its path—the beach, in a sense, driving relentlessly to meet the sea.

I stare at the moon so steadily that I can start to see it descending. Adjusting my mind, knowing the earth is rotating, I sense us hanging in space, rotating into and out of sunlight into and out of moonlight. A slow and stately dance that defies comprehension.

The moon is close to the horizon now. And suddenly the light changes, silver replaced with copper.

The sands are darkening. The dunes no longer visible, only the sharp edge of the horizon and soon even that will vanish into total starlit darkness.

The moon touches the earth. As it descends into darkness I whisper. Goodbye moon remember me. Goodbye moon remember me.

There is now only a glow in the western sky. A slight breeze lifts chilling me even further.

I am overcome.

dsc8083-2sahara-sunrise

 

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