Thursday’s Special: Desert Dawn


We’ve been suffering serious gales and wetness in the UK, and it’s set to persist, bluster and precipitate for several more days yet. Which has me thinking of dryness and deserts and heat and stillness and no wind. This photo was taken early one morning in the desert outside Dubai. It was around 5 a.m. and I had just given up the battle of trying to sleep in an igloo tent while close by our guide snored loudly in the open back of his 4×4. And when I walked out alone and saw all this, what could I say. Who cares about mangled limbs and a sleepless night? Why would I?

Thursday’s Special  This month Paula challenges us to show her any or all of the following: inversion . circuitous . corniculate . sabulous . interstice . I’m definitely claiming the last two in this shot, and also some circuitous tyre tracks. And then there’s inversion – the up and down-ness of the dunes and sand ruts, the light versus shade, the cool of sunless valleys versus sun-warmed peaks. I suppose at a push too, you might say the distant small lumps and bumps are reminiscent of newly erupting horns?

copyright 2019 Tish Farrell

21 thoughts on “Thursday’s Special: Desert Dawn

  1. You are in very good company! T.E. Lawrence’s……….I recalled when I read your piece something particular that he says of the desert. It is in the 3rd chaper of the Seven Pillars of Wisdom: so redolent a description that I found it after an untold number of years in a copy of my youth!

    ….’But at last Dahoum drew me: “Come and smell the very sweetest scent of all”, and we went into the main lodging, to the gaping window sockets of its eastern face and there drank with open mouths of the effortless, empty, eddyless wind of the desert throbbing past. That slow breath had been born somewhere beyond the distant Euphrates………”This,” they told me “is the best: it has no taste.”….

    I’ve not forgotten this and treasure it. You speak of a moment(s) of no wind. But you reminded me, nevertheless, of the beauty of the desert. Thanks, and for the wonderful photo. Best, Sarah

    1. Very many thanks, Sarah, for that very thoughtful comment. I’m most touched too that my post should prompt the recall of that marvellous quotation from T E Lawrence. Which in turn has reminded me of my teenage years and seeing David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia, and that shot where Omar Sharif emerges from a miragey heat haze (his best ever appearance) all wrapped in black. So of course, I was already in love with the desert before we went to Dubai.

  2. I have one other reason to interested that your post directed me to this particular passage. A frippery reason.

    I know now that one of the sources of my very conservative taste in perfumes is this passage.
    I love perfumes but have only been able to acclimatize myself to two or three in the Hermes’ collection because I found so few met the standard of this paragraph: something which has no ‘taste’ and yet makes you heady when you ‘drink’ it. Transferred, of course, to smell.
    So I’ve dabbed my wrists this dusk and remembered Omar Sharif, miragey black, and T.E. Lawrence, blazing white across white sands.

    Thank you again! Sarah

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