Wind, Sand, and Stars
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A collection of sketches rather than a novel, this work tells of battling with a tornado in the Andes; of crashing in the Libyan desert; and of action, adventure and danger.
which was true enough - "we have taken this house from the town under a thirty-year lease. They should look after the repairs. But they won't, and we won't, so . . ." They disdained explanation, and this superiority to circumstance enchanted me. The most that was said was: "The house is a little run down, you see." Even this was said with such an air of satisfaction that I suspected my friends of not being saddened by the fact. Do you see a crew of bricklayers, carpenters, cabinetworkers,
in the mountains, on the borders of rebellion, the Arabs had quietly placed a hand on his shoulder, christened him Bark, and sold him into slavery. He was not the only slave I knew. I used to go daily to the tents to take tea. Stretched out with naked feet on the thick woolen carpet which is the nomad's luxury and upon which for a time each day he builds his house, I would taste the happiness of the journeying hours. In the desert, as on shipboard, one is sensible of the passage of time. In
everything - the weather reports, the duration of the flight - had made it plain that we had crossed the Nile. But I had started tentatively towards the west and had felt a vague foreboding I could not explain to myself. So I had put off the west till tomorrow. In the same way, provisionally, I had given up going north, though that led to the sea. Three days later, when scourged by thirst into abandoning the plane and walking straight on until we dropped in our tracks, it was still eastward that
could distinguish the knots in their branches, the twistings of their once living boughs, could count the rings of life in them. This forest had rustled with birds and been filled with music that now was struck by doom and frozen into salt. And all this was hostile to me. Blacker than the chain-mail of the hummocks, these solemn derelicts rejected me. What had I, a living man, to do with this incorruptible stone? Perishable as I was, I whose body was to crumble into dust, what place had I in this
outraged here. I do not believe in pity. What torments me tonight is the gardener's point of view. What torments me is not this poverty to which after all a man can accustom himself as easily as to sloth. Generations of Orientals live in filth and love it. What torments me is not the humps nor hollows nor the ugliness. It is the sight, a little bit in all these men, of Mozart murdered. Only the Spirit, if it breathe upon the clay, can create Man.