The hot and rustling breath of the warm wind envelops us and turbines from everywhere... eddies of sand rasping on the rock blades backed by the supreme star of the celestial furnace: the thrill of adventure is there, before us, stretches, almost, like waiting in the few kilometers of steep land burned by the sun that separate the "Dome of the wind" by the Coptic monastery of "Anba Hatre" (San Simeon) ...
Turning my attention around I may catch the eyes of each of us, while squinting to judge the distance, and to ward off the blow dry and warm breezes ... but the eyes of the soul ... Oh, those are wide open, aware and fixed in the distance, as ancient obsidian mirrors, bright and motionless, waiting for the imminent march across the top of gebel to sink in the desert at the bottom of the valley. The slow start from the top of Qubbet, the "dome", is leading us, enchanted travelers, through expanses of stone flakes, dark pebbles and hot sand.
And the perfect and uniform radiant luminosity recalls the unitary symbol of the Horus Eye, acute flaming dart, centripetal in its absolute attention, centrifugal in his fiery splendor issue. Our restless gaze is lost among the swaying tracks, and goes up the slope on the other side ... in the distance we can see the weak geometry, now ruined and confused, of the ancient monastery ...
The other, with their eyes still full of the extraordinary show of the cool waters of the Nile, the green islands of Elephantine and Kitchener and other smaller ones. They walk, with these images yet fixed on the retina by the ruthless glare of the sun , starting with slow and areful steps, chatting again, after the small break carried on for the rest on the top. The short but steep climb from the Tombs of the Nobles at the top of the hill, demanded a tribute of relaxation and breath in the shade of the building with the vault soaring in the blue skies of the morning.
How far civilization! How remote is comfortable and fresh protection of the hotels with their air conditioner, far the frozen ship-cabins with their cold forced-air blows ... Now everyone is just face to face with the desert, with rocks, with himself, and with the Sun ... Blazes of heat rising from the expanse of golden sand in front of us, on the valley bottom, while the air flickers in transparency and layers of air, progressively less overheated, alternate from the ground to the sky ... Silence , around, while the crackle of silica crystals under the soles seems the only alternative to the sigh of the warm breeze. The glorious and divine aura of Ra expands all around, like a dazzling mantle above the motionless world.
WANDERERs in the desert
We move imbued with a mild euphoria, to the series of mounds of debris that dot the edge of the Gebel, down to the edge of the hill ... "wara el Gebel, inzil taht, wi teshof el-kenisa": "behind the hill , come down, and you will see the monastery "... the echo of the last words of Mustafa, the guardian of the tombs of "Qubbet el Hawwa" still buzzing in my ears. He accompanied us to the summit of Gebel, on the "West Bank", where a small domed building disfigures presumptuously the hill profile. From there, after having grabbed his wages, and after insisting for more additions, Mustafa has laconically mentioned to me the way to go.
And now we are here, like a row of tiny stubborn ants, plodding down on thin paths, as yellow sand scars on the sides of the giant made of stone chips.
The rumors have vanished, while the foot seeks the support and attempt the step in the steep descent, between streams of silica burnt by the sun and dark and sharp stones, always ready to bite the light soles of our shoes.
Soon our steps will resound between the walls of the refectory of the monastery, where the trinitarian sight of the small arched windows will spread mystical halos unto the dense shadows of the hallway ... maybe a few notes, sung as a joke, will make old songs of the Copts priests resonate for us, as if we were back at the dawn of the Church ... among remains of rubble, hydraulic games with geometric circuits will mock our ability to imagine the ancient water supply systems.
... Walking from Qubbet el Hawwa to the monastery of S.Simeone ...
The way will be long, and hostile the environment ... nevertheless ... between the untamed forces of nature, the ego of man rises to a new life, and the silence gives new space for intuition: it is a moment of reintegration, of inner peace. New vibrations and new words without sound propagate into the ear of the spirit, and, without hearing, without seeing, new "things" are revealed, and will never be erased from our arcane memory.
But for now we are here, and the climb to the walls of the monastery is still a hot issue for our fragile human remains, eager to reach a cool shade to refresh themselves of the long journey.
...We're almost there ...