6. “Two gardens” (The Hajj Journal)

An orchard of date trees

September 11, 2015

My day of travel is almost over. I’m currently at Medina airport, waiting for everyone’s luggage to show. The flight over the desert was amazing. The flat, sandy plains almost instantly gave way to dark red hills, with cuts where ancient rivers used to run… Razor-back hills crest out of the sand, like the backs of ancient dinosaurs. Rows of mountains pervade the landscape. I didn’t have my camera on me, so the sights are preserved in memory only. Perhaps, sometimes, that’s the way it should be.

The sparse dots of greenery reminded me of the BBC doc “Human Planet”, which showcased the lives of people that live in extreme climates. One of the communities maintained an orchard in the desert. Here, among the harsh and unrelenting but beautiful desert, it’s easy to be why God refers to Gardens of Paradise; or the story of the two men, one of whom had two dense, beautiful productive gardens, and the other who had none. The rich gloried in his arrogance, despite warnings from his friend not to be boastful and proud. The man didn’t think God would take him to account. And so his fruitful gardens were brought to ruin.

Out here, that wouldn’t just be a minor inconvenience. Your entire livelihood would be wiped out. All you would have left is just sand and dust.

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