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Sinai By Starlight. A moment in an Egyptian desert.

Former MemberFormer Member The Mix Honorary GuruPosts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
A short story I wrote about a recent trip to Egypt.

Sinai By Starlight

It was a popular excursion, one that people recommended, one that we were sure we’d do as soon as we arrived in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. Sharm was full of tourists. While there was still fantastic energy surrounding the place, and even a magical tone to the city, it was still full of tourists. I was looking forward to this particular excursion, although full of holiday goers like myself, it was away from the hustle and bustle, into the depths of the Sinai desert.

We rode into the desert on camels led by locals, and ended up on red and gold cushions around a table with a shisha pipe to share with our group. We heard about the history of the desert and the tribes that lived within it, drank tea, watched the natives make bread, and ate the delicious food that was cooked for us. It was a nice evening, the sun was close to setting.

I brought my camera with me to capture the sunset over the mountains, something that I’d heard was an incredible site, and a moment I’d so passionately wanted to immortalise on film.

When the moment came, dozens of people gravitated towards the mountains, some daring to climb higher than others to see the full impact of the sun laying down to rest after an energy draining, scorching hot 38 degree day. I stayed low, at an angle that I thought would take the best photo, anticipating a beautiful red cloak draping over the mountains – I had my camera ready. The photographer inside me was liberated, excited, and prepared.

As the sun fell slowly, I took a few shots. The colours were intense, and the desert took on a new, laid back personality. I snapped away until the sun was half hidden, in the midst of bidding it’s farewell, and then it hit me. I’d immortalised the beginning of the sunset, but I found myself concentrating so hard on getting the perfect photo and willing this sight last to forever, that I’d felt as though I was somehow cheating myself out of feeling it, in the present. In this moment. So I did something that didn’t come naturally to me, and I forced myself to put the camera down, and, I just watched. I listened to the serenity, and I took in the captivating movement of the colours blending in the sky.

I witnessed dozens of cameras capturing the sight, I heard the clicking and the rolls of wheels from people all around me frantically adjusting the shutter speeds and apertures to get this perfect photo, and I found myself silently praying for them all just to shut up. Were they so busy looking at this beautiful site through the emotionless lenses of their cameras that they couldn’t stand still in this highly intoxicating moment and just… feel?
As someone who always thought it important to take photos, to preserve the most fleeting of moments, to make things last, I surprised myself at how little I wanted to just observe, and how much I wanted to just simply be these moments.

And, so, I sacrificed an opportunity to immortalise this visual, in order to feel as deeply as my heart would allow me, in all it’s glory, with no limitations or distractions, for just a few moments. I sacrificed simply observing something beautiful, in order to be part of it. I recognised the rarity of such a peaceful moment, and coming from a city drowning in noise and speed, I felt frozen in time.

The sun finished setting within minutes, but that feeling has lingered ever since. Immortalised within my own mental, and emotional snapshot. One of my good friends got an amazing photograph of the sun bidding it’s final farewell, and she described the experience as beautiful. She has the pictures on her camera, where they’ll stay for a long time. I’m still trying to find words that even do the slightest justice to what I experienced. I have the picture in my mind, in my heart. And, my heart doesn’t quite know how to communicate what it saw. It just felt. It still feels.
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