Saturday, September 28, 2013

The White Desert Grasses of Al-Dir'iyah, Arabia

Al-Diriyah, on the outskirts of the Saudi capital, Riyadh.
I arose early and hired a driver to take me out through the desert to the ruins of Dir-iyah.
These old bricks rising from the sand served as the first capital of the Saudi dynasty from 1744 to 1818.
Today... it's just another abandoned series of buildings with a fancy mosque and restored tower.
Funny the signs of life around us... even here in the desert.
The ruins of the old city of Diriyah lay on either side of a narrow valley in the Hanifa Wadi.
The structures are mud-brick and set high atop a hill over looking the remnants of gardens dried up and swallowed in dust.
The chroniclers of Nejd write that the history of Diriyah date back to about the 15th century.
 But for me, once again wandering through yet another ruin of some previous life... Diriyah felt eerie.
 Perhaps it was the blaring heat.  The blinding sun.  The dizzying way the land and the buildings fade into one another in shape and color without any distinction except for the mighty blue sky.
Wandering away, far out toward the rocks and empty space of the desert, I turned around, afraid that the city would disappear behind me and I'd be lost.
Around a dune, I stumbled upon these white desert grasses whispering in the dry wind and sat beside them staring up at the sky.
Where is the wind that carries me home?  I fear it's lost in the desert sea.

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