movement, movement

The Desert

Posted in books, quotes by amoslanka on November 30, 2009

The desert could not be claimed or owned–it was a piece of cloth carried by winds, never held down by stones, and given a hundred shifting names long before Canterbury existed, long before battles and treaties quilted Europe and the East. Its caravans, those strange rambling feasts and cultures, left nothing behind, not an ember. All of us, even those with European homes and children in the distance, wished to remove the clothing of our countries. It was a place of faith. We disappeared into landscape. Fire and sand. We left the harbours of oasis. The places water came to and touched… Ain, Bir, Wadi, Foggara, Khottara, Shaduf. I didn’t want my name against such beautiful names. Erase the family name! Erase nations! I was taught such things by the desert.

– The English Patient, p138

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One Response

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  1. k.h.botkin said, on December 2, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    I always wonder what the desert was like before the invention of the automobile. The Sahara, for instance, seems to have been pulverized over time, until the dust is so fine the slightest breeze sweeps it straight into your eyes, until it creeps through the cracks of buildings and all the dishes are set on the table upside down until the last moment. And the brightness washes everything out until the sky and the sand seem one endless orb, an undulating plate of white covered with an overturned bowl of white.


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