A desert wind blew in and left a trail of fine, orange dust in its wake. They say that the desert is full of sand. But this is nothing like the grainy substance on our beaches. It’s as fine as the finest talcum powder. Only the colour is all wrong.
When the scirocco blows it here in the belly of strange-coloured clouds, there’s nothing much we can do except wait for the storm to pass and then grab a broom, sweep it into a pile and throw it away. But this time, just as I was about to get rid of it, I plunged my fingers into the little powdery mound. And for a moment it seemed as if the Earth had stopped spinning, as the realisation hit me: that I’ve never been to the Sahara but I’d just touched it with my fingertips. This same sand that was now in an innocuous pile before me had been buffeted by the breath of a thousand different winds and scorched by the heat of an unforgiving sun, only to end up on this alien shore. In a pile. At my feet.
I traced a circle through this fertile dust in which nothing grows and wondered how many weary travellers’ bodies it had embraced; how many camels had left their footprints across its lonely miles and what exotic creatures called it home? I raised dusty fingers to my face and felt a tingle running down my spine, followed by a strange sensation that miles and miles away a strange figure in an indigo-blue veil was watching me through narrowed eyes. Maybe my world had collided with his.
Our farmers say that this desert dust fortifies our soil and nourishes the fledgling plants. I gathered the dust and scattered it gently on the surface of my garden soil. Perhaps it would help my flowers grow. Miles and miles away it seemed as if that solitary figure nodded in agreement and silently rode away into the endless expanse of the desert.You may read more about this strange desert wind in one of my first posts here.