Rainless Storms Dance Tirelessly Over The Hot,
Crisp Surface Of The Ground.
The fine sand, driven by the wind, gathers
into deep drifts, and silts among the dark rocks of the hills, exactly
as snow hangs about an Alpine summit; only it is a fiery snow, such as
might fall in hell.
The earth burns with the quenchless thirst of ages,
and in the steel-blue sky scarcely a cloud obstructs the unrelenting
triumph of the sun.
Through the desert flows the river - a thread of blue silk drawn across
an enormous brown drugget; and even this thread is brown for half the
year. Where the water laps the sand and soaks into the banks there grows
an avenue of vegetation which seems very beautiful and luxuriant by
contrast with what lies beyond. The Nile, through all the three thousand
miles of its course vital to everything that lives beside it, is never
so precious as here. The traveller clings to the strong river as to an
old friend, staunch in the hour of need. All the world blazes, but here
is shade. The deserts are hot, but the Nile is cool. The land is parched,
but here is abundant water. The picture painted in burnt sienna is
relieved by a grateful flash of green.
Yet he who had not seen the desert or felt the sun heavily on his
shoulders would hardly admire the fertility of the riparian scrub.
Unnourishing reeds and grasses grow rank and coarse from the water's
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