I am a spirit. I’ve wandered this desert for as long as I can remember. There was never a time I did not see its sandy dunes and empty skies, unless I lay beneath the one tree that marked the landscape. That tree is my home and my friend. I tell it what I see.
One day, I was making my way over a sand dune one day when I spotted a figure on the horizon. Out of curiosity, I went closer to see who else would wander this barren landscape. The figure was a young girl with caramel skin leading a camel along the dunes’ ridges. This girl never saw me, only continued to trudge her way through the hot sand. I followed her.
She led me for many miles until we reached a part of the desert I had never seen before. There was an oasis filled with water so blue it was the sky and surrounded by palm trees. The girl, dusty and dry from her trek, brought the camel to the water and knelt. Letting the camel drink first, she watched the ripples radiate from its mouth to hit the other side of the pool.
Once the camel had drunk its fill, the girl removed the cloth wrapped around her head, letting her silken black hair free. She dipped her head into the water, allowing it to soak through each strand of hair, then flipped it back. Her hair cascaded in a beautiful river over her shoulders and down the back of her clothes. Then she slipped her feet into the waters, slowly allowing herself to slide into the pool.
When she emerged, it seemed as if her entire body had been renewed, sparkling with life and energy. Her deep brown eyes seemed to be imbued with the power of the very earth itself. She raised her hands to the sky and let out a cry. As if on command, storm clouds began to cluster above her and power seemed to emanate from her fingertips.
Dark clouds gathered, blocking out the sun’s rays. Thunder began to boom as the girl waved her arms like a conductor leading his orchestra, each crash coinciding with her movements. Then there was lightning. Bright, burning lightning that might have blinded. The camel ran in fright until it disappeared behind one of the great sandy hills.
The lightning struck erratically, turning sand into glass and setting the palms ablaze. The girl seemed hypnotized by this storm, unseeing of the destruction unfolding before her. Raising her arms to the sky once more, she lifted her face to the rain that began to fall. All of a sudden, a fork of lightning engulfed the girl. She did not move, or make any sign that this had affected her. She merely stood there as the sky-fire crackled and hissed against the rain.
What happened next is what is truly amazing. As the storm began to calm and the rain ceased, the lightning began to recede into the clouds. In a flash, the girl was gone, devoured by what had just occurred. I remained to watch the clouds dissipate until they were no more, the last puff vanishing in a final clap of thunder.
The next thing I knew, I was back in familiar territory. There was no sign of the oasis, the girl or her camel, or the storm’s chaos. All that lay before me were empty tracks of sand and a clear blue sky.
I returned to my tree and told it my tale. I think I could hear it laughing at me through the breeze. Perhaps it was all no more than a desert dream.