The Dichotomies of the Desert

Camille Smith
March 8, 2016
Camels at sunset

The desert is a place of extreme dichotomies. Blistering hot at mid-day, but bone chilling by night. Tiny, individual grains of sand amass so together they transform into a consuming landscape, one that stretches across an entire continent. Venture in too deep, and you may not find your way out. The matter of life and death becomes so easily palpable. These stark contrasts are what make the experience of visiting the desert indescribable.


There really is no way to truly feel the vast and overwhelming feeling of standing in the Sahara until you are there yourself. It’s hardly fathomable even when you are standing on the tallest dune, knowing you’ve hardly touched the surface of this world. Each footprint, within seconds, can be brushed away a single stroke of the wind. This is how the desert asserts its power to constantly repaint its own story: transforming its own reality, reminding you of the impermanence and insignificance of our little human ones. What would the footprints of the great desert kings of centuries past look like today? Do you think they ever humbled themselves enough to know that they never ruled the land to begin with? How could any corporeal being? The desert always reclaimed itself, because the ways of the desert are something beyond human capacity. It was not made for our adaptation. Come nightfall, the impenetrable darkness across the dunes washes all other memory away. With every star visible in the sky, looking up feels like venturing into another magical desert of its own.


It’s an impossible task to articulate the sort of sheer wonder that looking at the Sahara leaves you in. Of all of the beautiful places I’ve seen, I have never been left in such awe by the Earth’s natural beauty, and by such a simple sight at that. Who knew that looking outward at piles of sand would leave me in such an introspective state? The moments of silence I spent reflecting on these things were not enough to serve such a powerful piece of the earth.


No perfectly filtered picture or metaphoric description could do this place its proper justice. However, I’m a millennial, and I’m writing a blog, so I naturally did both anyway. I wish I could bring this place with me, but that’s the price of a once-in-a-lifetime experience; it must be left as such. 

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Camille Smith

<p>Assalamu Alaikum, Bonjour, Hello! I&#39;m Camille and I&#39;m currently in my second year studying Political Science and International Studies at Loyola University Chicago. I&#39;m thrilled to be spending my semester in Rabat, Morocco and hope you all enjoy hearing about my journey! Expect bad puns and lots of pictures of food.</p>

2016 Spring
Home University:
Loyola University Chicago
International Studies
Political Science
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