September 16, 2014
I don’t know why I went, but I know I’ve got to get back there. There is something that calls me there. It’s not a wanderlust. No, it’s not the urge to travel. And it’s definitely not some deep seeded need to be an expatriate. No, I rather like being a patriot, thank you very much.
So why this desire to go there? Was it the desert calling to me? No, I’ve lived in the desert all of my life. Was it the need or want to experience a culture far different from my own? Again, no; in the United States we are a nation of different cultures and I’ve experienced quite a few of them.
I know, it was the need for a middle-aged woman to strike out on her own and be independent. That is not even close, because I’ve been on my own and independent for quite a few years now. So what was it? What is it still? What is this insatiable need to live and work in the Middle East? That, dear Readers, is something I haven’t quite been able to figure out.
The bougainvillea blooms all year round. The beautiful purple-pink flowers belie the thorny vines that lie just underneath the blooms. From a distance, with the sun at their backs, and with one eye closed, I can almost picture an Arizona sunset. The reds and pinks and purples of the bougainvillea and the Arizona sunsets mesh together to make sitting outside in 120°F (49°C) worth the sweat.
And the sweat…the sweat in the small of my back clings to the polyester blend, black abaya and simply sits there. The ever present moisture lies on the surface of both my skin and the non absorbent material of my long-sleeved, long skirt, neck high “dress” that I and the other women in this desert town must endure. However, the material is a boon at keeping out the desert sand. And that fine grained, almost silt, permeates every inch of life in the desert. Every inch of life except for my abaya.
My abaya, keeping me chaste and safe from both the male-dominated society and the mountains and mountains of sand that blow through the cracks; and blow and blow and blow. Blows the wind so subtle that were it not for the fog-like emissions of the oil fields, I would never know it was blowing.
Then, just as suddenly as it rises, the sun sets and the night arrives, bringing with it the murkiness of the fog. The fog rolls in and over the desert. It’s time to slip inside and leave the night to the night. And as I lazily climb the sturdy, sandy stairs to my room with a view, thoughts drift to Carl Sandburg…
The fog comeson little cat feet.It sits lookingover harbor and cityon silent haunchesand then moves on.