The elders agreed. Time had run out for the tribe. Preparations had to be done well and in good time, for a crossing of the great desert had not been undertaken in a long while. As keen as the young were to test their own strength, the elders knew only too well what lay ahead. Few would reach the Northern rim of the desert.
Wild animals were their least concern, though the desert hyenas and foxes with stealth and slyness were known to steal foodstuff out of bags at night even from under your head.
A danger too were small bands of brigands who sometimes lay in ambush near watering holes and who would slaughter the men and keep the children and women to sell them into slavery. The elderly, bereft, were left to die. This was the code of the desert.
The greatest danger of all however would be heat and wind and the great hallucinations torturing the mind and the consequent loss of direction. The desert as it lay before them was just as great an expanse as the great water beyond.
None of the elders had ever seen the ocean but they knew of it and of the great fear it held for all wanting to cross it. And that, Youssef had told the tribe, would be their destination: the great ocean of the Northern region and the crossing of the waters before they would reach the land he knew not where and when to find – but find it they would.
With love from
Colleen & Walter
Betty’s Bay, Friday April 15, 2011