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A Desert Dream: From Atop the Dunes of Siwa Oasis

My Photo scholarship 2010 entry

Egypt | Sunday, October 17, 2010 | 5 photos

I do not consider myself a religious person. But my time in Siwa Oasis, a long and trying car ride from downtown Cairo, revealed a spirituality within me that I had never before experienced. Something happened to me as we hurdled out into the middle of the desert in an old 1980s Land Cruiser and sat atop a towering dune, watching the sun douse the desert in a supernatural orange glow as it rose above the desert. I spent three days in Siwa Oasis, and in that time, I felt so connected to the place that it was as if Mother Nature had crawled into my soul and found a home. I witnessed the patterns and traditions of a culture and land tucked so far out of the way, that it is often forgotten completely. I found a mystical surprise in the unexpected: feeling the rush of sand and wind as I rode a snowboard down the side of a massive sand dune; petrified seashells and sand dollars peeked above the sand, the remains of a life underwater. Breakfast was prepared from the very earth of the place: succulent olives, cucumbers, and tomatoes grown in the oasis, bread and cheese made by our contemplative guide, who seemed to have sprung out of the desert’s natural elements himself. Above all, I found surprise in my ability to remove myself from all prior experience, separate myself from stress and worry, and find a newfound peace in a contemplative and observant state of becoming part of place.

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