Monday, December 10, 2007

Path Through The Hills

The hills are dusty and the color of camel humps. Bare of blade, they are littered instead with jagged rocks which thrust themselves out of the surface of dirt like little pointed teeth. The occasional twist of branch jutting out of the hillside only further illustrates the arid condition atop these sunny mounds. These are low growing shrubs and trees that reach out towards the sun and salty sea.
The path is cut into the hills and runs a course high over the green waves. It is narrow and settled deep between walls of parched dirt and sun warmed sandstone. A burrow passes with ease through most of its course, but occasionally the walls give way and the path rises steeply to a narrow ledge. Here the rider must give up the jouncing ride and lead the animal by tether, a perilous operation.
At times the road is lonely. Often however it is flooded by foot traffic coming from the opposite direction. Noisy conglomerations of tanned humanity, feet shod in simple leather sandals struggle to pass burrow and rider on the narrow highway. Baskets and bundles balanced on heads and under arm, they carry on their conversation without greeting the foreign traveler, their white teeth glinting in the sun as their smiles widen and heads are thrown back in laughter. Then they disappear around the bend leaving behind a haze of trail dust and the echo of their voices.
The distant murmur of the sea will fill the silence pending some future encounter. The road is always more solemn in their wake.

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