dromedaries in the desert
June 1, 2011
One of the few plants growing in the desert area around Merzuga and Erg Chebbi is Calotropis procera – le pommier de Sodom – indigenous and, of course, poisonous which is why man nor beast eat it. Tamarix are also indigenous here and perform a useful role in stabilising the moving landscape of sand with their roots.
The dromedaries roam free when visitors are infrequent. A lovely sight to glimpse a head above a high dune and also hear their trumpeting/bellowing sound. Riding a dromedary for more than 2 hours can result in a very sore backside! Fortunate to have such an attentive ‘chamelier’.
The odd oasis or encampment looms up . . . .
. . for animal and human feeding. Although the dromedary needs little liquid they need continual feeding.
The encampments look transitory too just like the whole landscape – nothing is still . . . the nomadic Berbers fashion something out of bits of nothing . . . . and nothing is thrown away . . .
. .. necessary to keep the sand and the wind and the sun away from the head with the turban . . .
. . and the start of the sunset at Ksar Sania. The light plays the visual epilogue and the desert sleeps.
…greedy they pluck’d
The Frutage fair to sight, like that which grew
Neer that bituminous Lake where Sodom flam’d;
This more delusive, not the touch, but taste
Deceav’d; they fondly thinking to allay
Thir appetite with gust, instead of Fruit
Chewd bitter Ashes, which th’ offended taste
With spattering noise rejected: oft they assayd
Hunger and thirst constraining…
John Milton Paradise Lost (bk. 10, ll. 520–528)