Last New Year’s Eve, we were in Oman.
More precisely, on the dunes that surrounded our hotel.
I get particularly worried when driving on dunes (it’s my third time) because the local drivers always think you’re looking for an adrenaline high, which I am not. This time was slightly better because our driver was warned and warned and nagged and warned about not scaring us, so he was less crazy than the others had been. Slightly.
Desert dunes are breathtaking.
They look solid and strong, but when you step on them you feel as if you could sink forever.
And they move – it was incredibly windy and you could see the sand streaming off the top of the dunes and flowing to settle where the wind wouldn’t pick it up, until all the sand had moved to that particular spot and it found itself in the wind again.
The similarities between the sand in the desert and the sand at the beach are incredible. And that makes me wonder how similar are water and wind? Very, I believe.
The vast sage desert undulates with almost imperceptible tides like the oceans.
When the sun starts to set, the colours change so fast you that, if you’re a photographer, you just have to keep taking photos because every moment is unique.
I don’t see the desert as barren at all; I see it as full and ripe. It doesn’t need to be flattered with rain. It certainly needs rain, but it does with what it has, and creates amazing beauty.
My favourite moment is this one. When the sun has gone and the sky starts layering its colours.
And then, before it started getting cold, we went down. Down the dune. Straight down. Engine off. Nearly vertical.
Luckily, there was a happy dromedary waiting for us at the bottom.
If you don’t die of thirst, there are blessings in the desert. You can be pulled into limitlessness, which we all yearn for, or you can do the beauty of minutiae, the scrimshaw of tiny and precise. The sky is your ocean, and the crystal silence will uplift you like great gospel music, or Neil Young.