An Unending Sky - The Sahara Desert
“This is by far the most exotic thing I’ve ever done in my lifetime.” As our British comrades exclaimed this atop the backs of our camel caravan, I nodded in total agreement.
The heat raised ripples of air from its orange-rust surface. The camels brayed, my hips swiveling, adjusting to its fractured pace. Below the bedouin’s cobalt scarf blew in the dry wind, he held loosely to the camel’s tether, as if he trusted the animal’s actions as much as his own. My eyes peeled to where the sand met the sun. I, at the helm of the caravan, could see it best, could see it clearest.
“The Sahara is just a sandbox in the starkest bad lands of Morocco.” We drove hours through its winding, dust roads, surrounded by bleak mountains and rock-like statues in the distance. It was us, and nothingness. No foliage. No wildlife. No men, nor women. Just space, heat and the wild orange sands that lay ahead like a thin blanket in the far, far future.
As our caravan trekked through the first embankments of the desert’s entrance, my skin was kissed by the first sign of night - the cool air that was sure to come. The sun, unwavering in the far reaches of the orange, ripped sand mountains began to soften from a blazing fireball to something a bit gentler.
We settled on a space to rest and were told to hike to the tallest peak of sand. And so we did.
Him, me, the expansive Sahara Desert. The silky sand. The breeze, the rolling hills of rust sand. The slow changes. The melting sands of orange to pink to dark red to purple. The evening kissed the ground as soon as the sun had said fair well.
And suddenly, the never-ending sandbox felt more present, more dangerous, more wild than it ever did. The dark, looming nothing-ness out there. The furious natural world could swallow us whole in this very moment (as it always could). How could this place be? How were we here?
Fires were lit, food was offered. We escaped to the hillside again. To watch the stars blink in. No sign of the moon tonight. Just the dark Sahara that cradled us tiny humans in the palm of its hand, raising us up to see the galaxies - like a mother lifting a child to see over a fence post.
The limitless sky. The unending stars. The Milky Way dusted across an open canvas. And us. Small humans. Little specks of dust, on a little soft sandbox, somewhere on Earth.