Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Life and Death in the Fertile Desert of Egypt

While describing a hieroglyphic scene on a pillar at Luxor Temple, Amr quoted Heroditus, saying that Egypt is a "gift of the Nile." That makes sense when you are down here. That maks sense when you step on the grass and look upon the sand. That makes sense when you whatch this key to life, this giver of life to the Sahara Desert flow from the Upper Kingdom to the Lower Kingdom, beside the Temples built to the Sun God by these kings who ruled over both kingdoms. The way that life and death live beside each other is ever present in Egypt. This ancient civilization, which grew from the brown silt left by the Nile was protected by the hot desert that surrounds it. The desert, which means harship and death to invaders, unable to cultivate substantial life within itself, was able to keep Egypt set apart and protect Egypt's life from invaders with its death. And that same desert is still dry. It still burns. It's inhospitality to water and life allow the ancient monuments that blossomed from the Nile's shores to stand to this day.
The relationship between death and life seen in the relationships between the Nile and the Sahara, the people and the lifeless expanse between them and the rest of the world, discloses the fragility of life and the necessity of death. For Egypt, the desert is her protector; the Nile is her life; the desert is her limit, and the Nile is her overflowing provider. The Nile flows. Oh, and it's 10 Egyptian Pounds for a carriage ride beside it.

1 comment:

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