Desert Man

One day I was going to the metro and saw a man standing on the pass way, selling snacks. When I walked the same pass way at 12 AM, he was still there, about to pack his stuff. I looked at his face and saw no tiredness (at least it wasn’t visible). I saw a some kind of firmness. Of a man who has long forgotten what it is like to follow the whimsies of his heart and who is the symbol of duty itself. This face reminded me someone living in very very ancient times, maybe in a desert. I imagined a life of a Bedouin.


This Bedouin every single day needs to walk the desert. His feet always sink into the sand and it takes a lot of effort to take a step. The sun is coming down on him in 90 degrees angle and his heavy cloth barely helps him to save himself from the deadly heat. His eyes are dry and he almost feels the sand in his mouth. But he cannot drink lots of water because he has so little of it. He knows the direction but he is walking this area for the first time. He doesn’t know when he finds the water or meets the first people. He can’t think about anything because it’s so hot and so hard to walk. He has a future to dream about, a rest during the night but the time goes so slowly that dreams would torment him. So he’s literally present in the moment. He’s present in the suffer. And he knows that it will take more days like this.

In our times anyone would have a breakdown. And when I imagine this man back in the old days (or I don’t know, maybe someone is still living like this by now, completely disconnected from the modern world), I imagine a tremendous power. Not this modern type of power. It’s a power to overcome oneself.

I imagine that no philosophy or religion is present to this Bedouin. Because he feels his body and the desert so strongly. I guess he is so drained from the inside that he does not have any space there for thoughts or feelings. But somehow he keeps walking.

The sun is about to set and the Bedouin makes a fire camp. The sand cools down and the desert now almost makes the Bedouin think that it loves him. The moment when he sits down he can feel the tiredness coming. He takes out of the bag his food and chews it slowly until he finishes. And he goes to sleep. The moment before he falls asleep is the only moment when his soul starts moving. When he dreams. I have no idea what a Bedouin could dream about. But it’s not important for our story.

Probably you say what a poor man he is, this Bedouin. And who does deserve such suffer. No one would wish it even for his worst enemy.

I might sound crazy but I think such an experience can make us more spiritual. I haven’t had similar experience but my guts are saying it.

Of course, the snack seller also wasn’t that kind of person like in my story. Just his face made a flux in my imagination. I can say nothing about him. My guts are saying nothing about him.

I just know that in our days we are much more afraid of suffering. And that a desert sometimes makes us bigger people.

Dora Žibaitė

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