Wadi Rum, Jordan is also known as The Valley of the Moon. The desert is desolate, filled with silence, and the mind quiets if you allow the chatter to drop. I marvel at the wandering camels just as the Bedouins do. They call the camels “The Gift of G-d” because they are fast running creatures which can go sixty-two miles (one hundred kilometers) in twenty-four hours. These camels have strength and endurance and many of them attach themselves to one owner. There are many breeds of camels besides racing and burden carrying however in Wadi Rum there is a special breed developing that loves people and being caressed. Look at this cute face, almost as if she’s saying “let’s be friends.”
In the middle of the desert we stop for tea and cookies at a Bedouin camp with tents made from goat hair followed by a breathtaking view of The Seven Pillars of Wisdom; a famous landmark, named after the book by T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia). Discovering an unknown land brings freedom to my soul.
The tour guide stops us in what seems to be the middle of nowhere and begins to pick an herb off a tree and build a fire from sticks he gathers nearby. I am charmed by our guide’s substantial gifts; a warrior who climbs the steep mountain as if it were flat ground, he is sure of himself. He navigates through the vast desert with no GPS, creating a fresh salad in the middle of the vast space. I watch him cook onions, peppers, hot peppers on his makeshift grill and he serves my favorite, hummus.
As I climb the summit of a naked mountain, I meet a family traveling from Madrid, Spain. The child turns to me and asks “este es un buen movimiento? o un mal movimiento?” “Is this a good move or a bad move?” and together, while continuing to communicate to each other in Spanish, we navigate the rocks with the reach of a hand and the placement of a foot, until we reach the peak. I think of my father’s family, who were in bondage and here I am in Jordan. I celebrate my freedom with a deep inhale and exhale at the top.
Wadi Rum is a journey to another world where Petroglyphs are carved into the sandstone and granite, camels wander in a quiet, silent desert, the rocks seem placed here by something not of this world, and solitude is made of sand and G-d.
“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…”