Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Howl

The past few days have been hot, predictably, and bright; marked by periodic
dust storms. Several evenings ago, while playing frisbee football with my
squadmates, one such storm kicked up. Most of the squad just laughed and
struggled to keep the disc from sailing violently out of bounds, but I had
to take a minute and examine my surroundings.

It was about 430, and the sky was fading toward an amber sunset. The tents
rattled and shook with the sudden gusts, and we had to take care not to look
directly into the intense blasts of powdery grit. The whole environment
changed in a second.

The storm was mild, but I can remember how the sky took on that hazy hue;
the way the dust devils whipped across the vacant lots. This desert is an
angry place, but not in the way that Superior is angry. Where Superior is
wrathful and capricious, this place exudes a measured, lonely seethe; the
only sound some days is a howl that moans above the blaring generators and
diesel water trucks. It sounds lonely, and at the same time deeply
frightening.

It is said that the indigenous tribes of this place--those few unable or
disinclined to take part in the affluent, highly westernized rush of Kuwaiti
society--fear the high desert; not for its natural lethality, but rather for
the murderous spirit-entities which they believe stalk the dunes and sand
flats in search of wayward travelers. Standing outside this evening,
smoking a cigarette, I can finally say that I understand.

I'm not a superstitious man. But there are most certainly ghosts here.
There are things out there far worse than the bombs and mortars which await
us farther north, and if one watches the news, I think one can see how it
preys on the minds of the people who live in this region.

It is said in the Book of Genesis that Eden lies in the floodplain between
the rivers Tigris and Euphrates. It is also said that the Garden is
protected by a flaming blade.

But based on what I can see in Kuwait, I already know that there is no such
blade, nor any Archangels to vengefully guard it.

There is only The Howl.

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4 Comments:

Blogger toadman said...

I can't tell you how glad I am that you're doing this. You're unique perspective on what you are experiencing is priceless.

6:18 PM  
Blogger cinnabari said...

Poetry, mon ami. The Howl. I saw footage of a shamal on google, once. It inspired the last novel. That awesome primal violence, and the sheer desolation of the place, and the beauty (to me, anyway).

May you walk safely among the ghosts.

6:32 PM  
Blogger Softball Slut said...

I love your writing. I can see the picture you paint with your words

8:41 PM  
Anonymous mik said...

Eden has long since blown away -Only the howl remains...

Once again, thank you for your word pictures and the poetry of your descriptions.

Come home safely.

3:59 AM  

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