April 2, 2008

Climbing Mt. Sinai

One must just make the journey to truly understand how this experience reaches the depths of the spirit as pictures and words do not have the power to describe it’s hard earned beauty. There is a bus that leaves Dahab at 11 p.m and makes a two hour drive to the base of the mountain. While I packed all summer clothes, my friend Mohammed was kind enough to lend me a warm jacket for the two hour rocky climb in the dark, guided by the moon, stars and a flashlight if you choose, to the summit which, after a few rest stops, is reached at around five in the morning. The climb is done at night to avoid the scorching heat of the day and as you stand there waiting for the sun to rise feeling like Moses, the light starts to illuminate the endless mountain ranges which present themselves in shades of chiaroscuro. Working through the cold, you grab a spot on a cliff and when the orange sliver slowly appears over the eastern mountain and shines it’s golden light even the most atheist at heart will have an indecribable biblical moment. Once the communal silence of awe and camera clicks is broken, people break out into hyms, hold religious services in the open air or just sit and marvel before coming to the realization that after not sleeping all night you still have a two hour hike back down the mountain. Taking the back route of three thousand rocky “steps” provides ever changing views of beauty until you either pass out or reach St. Katherine’s monastery at the base where the burning bush told Moses to take his people out of Egypt. First, I don’t know how a bush can talk and, second, I have no idea why the talking bush would give such bad advice – I love Egypt. And although I’m no talking bush, I say keep yourself in Egypt, just get to a beach chair on the Red Sea in Dahab and take a nap.

1 comment:

jess said...

..glad it's so magical..
(although..if you were enslaved you just just might have heeded that crazy talkin' bush's words!)


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