Monday, November 16, 2009

Erg Chigaga

It has become an obsession of mine to venture to places as desolate and far from any trace of civilization as possible. The raw energy of these pristine landscapes reenergize the soul. My original inspiration for my trip to Morocco was the great sand dunes of the Sahara desert. I had great expectations for this part of the trip and the Sahara did not disappoint.

When we arrived at Erg Chigaga we scrambled up the highest dune we could find. Each time I arrived at the top of what I thought was the highest dune I would see an ocean of larger dunes reaching out as far as I could see to the horizon. I could have repeated this game all day and surely lose my self in the vast desert; however our exploration was cut short by the impeding storm and strong winds coming our way.

We sat and watched the developing storm in the distance for hours from our dune perch. There was a sense of alarm as there was a flash flood the previous week leaving our supposed tents in mere shambles of wire frames and mud. We watched the dark clouds coagulate and then the lightning started. Nature's light show started along the furthest hills and we watched in awe as they continued throughout the night.

That evening as the guides and guest were all in the tents celebrating with drums, music, dance and more mint tea, I wandered out to a near dune in the darkness. I watched the storm as it lit the sky in sporadic intervals. The wind washed my face with sand as tiny grains crawled into my eyes, ears and nostrils. The distant drumming droned on and I was overtaken with the infinite energy of nature once again. Barefooted on the soft silky sand I danced. I danced with the drums and I danced with the storm. I was liberated in every sense as they heightened to perceive every detail of my surrounding environment. I droned deeper into my trance the storms roared louder pushing more sand and clapping louder strikes across the land. This was my sanctuary. The awesome power of nature was pure at this moment and I rejoiced in my solitude.

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