I’m not wanting to go back to The Tree today. I got a little overwhelmed yesterday with family questions that I desperately want answered. I have a shirt tail cousin who was adopted as an infant, then in her adult years found she belonged to one of my tribes. She has the same experience as I – sometimes we feel like we are walking on bombs.
And, today Bes’ Gopher sent me a link for newspaper searches. I then found I’m kind of afraid to dig deeper. I decided that like my good friend Scarlett, I shall think about that tomorrow!
I decided to have my new blog speak for me to decorate it a little, find something to share. I was delighted with the synchronicity of finding this photo. It symbolizes a wonderful friendship with our taxi driver, Muhammad, who was shot badly in his leg and captured by Israelis in the Seven Days War.
According to Muhammad, his wounds were too severe to treat: he needed an amputation which the Israeli doctors were sure he would not survive. They bandaged him up, gave him a supply of food and water then put him on a camel to head across the Sinai to his home. Obviously he reached Cairo and his family, but his story of making his “last” visit to the family tombs is mind boggling. He is an honest man and there is no reason for him to fabricate a story. His story is mind bending, deserving of it’s own post.
Cairo, in 1983 was one of our first holidays abroad and we decided the best way to celebrate The Sahara was to ride on horseback from the stables in Giza up through the sand dunes to watch a spectacular event: the sunrise over the pyramids.
Steven was nearly 4, so they put him on a gentle, broad old mare, Rebecca, six years old got a pony and Larry, their dad got a rather spirited mare. Then my husband of fourteen years announced that he never rode a horse before. I learned to ride bareback on Old Red as a kid, so we switched horses were very happy with this change.
Larry, as man of the family, headed up our little troop, followed by 5 year old Rebecca with her streaming chestnut curls. I brought up the rear, behind towhead Steven, whose little legs were too short to reach both stirrups, so he stood on the left stirrup and rested his right leg on the saddle and his right hand on the saddle horn and no reins. He rode at a 45 degree angle and in the dark of dawn and his blonde hair he looked like a little yellow thistle sticking out of the old mares side. Our guide rode behind me on camel back.
We saw outines of shadow dunes in the pre-dawn lights. Stars sparkled in a soft midnight blue sky, while vague patterns of gently sloping dunes seemed to flicker and disappear. The stables of Giza were gone, the pyramids not yet visible, only endless dunes and endless time.
We rode in respectful silence. We gasped as first rays of sunrise back lit the pyramids making them dark silhouettes. As the sun rose higher, we silently rode toward toward the pyramids and back into endless time, sobered by ancient shapes and shadows.
I believe this is the only way to approach the pyramids: lose yourself in the desert and darkness and slowly allow them to be revealed by the sun. Some might call it a religious experience, but I remember feeling I became one with antiquity.
On the way back to the Hotel Jolieville we drove through The City of The Dead. Muhammad’s English was quite good, certainly better than the “Jive Talk” Arabic I’d picked up that made people laugh.
“So Muhammad, who lives in The City of The Dead?” From the back seat I saw Muhammad shoot him a funny look.
“No, I mean, look – these are beautiful homes and there are a lot of people walking around, do wealthy people live here?”
“No. Nobody lives here. They can’t because it is The City of The Dead.
“Why can’t they?”
It didn’t take too much longer before Muhammad came up with the clear reply.
“It is because the dead people cannot live.”
As an afterthought, he added, “Since you all now stink of horses, today would be the best day to go to Memphis where you can ride the camels.”
And so we did.