Wind-blown: Thursday’s Special


I have always loved the desert. One sits down on a desert sand dune, sees nothing, hears nothing. Yet through the silence something throbs, and gleams…
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince


We lived in Kenya during the late Moi years, the last days of the one-party state. By then the President was feeling under threat from external pressure to democratise, and whenever the President felt threatened, the crime rate rocketed – white collar crime that is, AK47 operations such as car-jacking that especially targeted expatriate aid workers, and organised by people whose elitist way of life was also at stake. There were episodes of ethnic clashes thrown in for good measure, stirred up in the same quarter. A German forestry consultant was murdered on his front doorstep for complaining about some bigwig chopping down Mount Kenya’s forests to grow hash.


In some ways it was fascinating to observe the bloody devices by which some people cling to power – and by fascinating I mean in the way you might stand frozen, staring into the headlights of an oncoming car. It was stressful then, and especially as election time approached, and so one year we decided we’d had enough, and needed a break. We went to Dubai. While we were there we spent a night out in the desert. You will appreciate the bliss we felt, standing alone in all that emptiness, seeing for miles, and with not one thing on the horizon to trigger our internal security scanners. A landscape arranged by the wind, timeless and mysterious, and with a welcome absence of humans.

© 2015 Tish Farrell

Paula’s Thursday’s Special: Arranged

35 thoughts on “Wind-blown: Thursday’s Special

  1. The way you opened this scene, with the then developments in Kenya and your escape into the desert of Dubai 😀 You are a tease, Tish 🙂 I love this arrangement of nature a lot.Terrific photo and contribution. I am honoured 🙂

  2. A wonderful peaceful shot, after the chaos of Kenya that you wrote about. A lot of people in other parts of Africa feel the same, and have to get away every now and then, to renew their souls.

    1. Yes, sometimes there are just too many machinations, and Kenya was/is not alone in that regard. In the UK things go on, controlled and manipulated by those in power. We’re too busy watching TV to notice most of the time, or think it doesn’t affect us.

  3. A magnificent image….and as always a most interesting post.
    I have only experienced the desert in the US….and agree that there is something quite wonderful about being in that sense of vast peace.
    Enjoy your weekend. Janet:)

  4. Tish your powerful words took me to that place in time. i can not imagine the stress of that time in place. Your photo and description of time in the desert bring a serenity and peacefulness.

    1. Well you know the feeling from Israel days when things get scary. The upside is total alertness, and living only in the moment – which admittedly does get very very wearing, but when I look back I realise I have never felt quite so alive as when I was in Africa. And of course a lot of the fear is the result of scare-mongering. Parts of us also knew that in many ways we had no business to be there, adding to the expatriate burden that, though numerically small, does start changing things for the locals, and not always in good ways.

  5. From the hair raising to that eerie prickling on the back of the neck called mystical. Strong contrasts and fabulous imagery – that doldrums you talked of a short while back has definitely left!

    1. Am so glad you think so, Laura. Thank you for you very encouraging words. It’s so good to have faithful watchers who notice things you don’t notice yourself. 🙂

    1. I’d hate to be in a sandstorm too, Jo, unless I was in a hermetically sealed tent. But then it would be so exciting, wouldn’t it. When you came out the landscape would be the same but different 🙂

  6. That absence of humans…similar to looking out at the sea, for me…that we can forget ourselves and at the same time, be reminded there’s more to us than us, which is a real reassurance. And for a moment we can really feel a part of it. – Bill

  7. Beautiful Tish.:-)

    I can understand the situation you described in Kenya. Many a time I have felt the need to escape all that political talk and tension. Though we are democratic now Ghana experiences waves of insecurity and suspense in pre and post election times.

  8. I can imagine the horror/fascination of living in such a time and place. Turbulence leaves a mark on us. Love the desolate photo.

    1. Dubai was rather full-on when we were there ages ago. I gather it’s been hell for leather development ever since. I agree. The desert is the most memorable part of a trip there – a noticeable absence of shopping malls and high rise hotels 🙂

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