A caravan of foreigners loaded up their vehicles with camping gear, hiking paraphanalia and treats. As we rode down the Desert Highway our friend’s little boy pointed out the sheep, shepherds and camels along the way. The dust billowed behind our car as we continued our descent into the desert on our way to Rummana Camp at Wadi Dana Nature Reserve.
Two and half hours and a quick istiraha later and we’ve arrived at the Tower. From here we can see into the wadi below us as we anxiously await the man who needs to check us in before we can continue our journey. Finally all passports have been checked and money paid and we’re quickly loading our gear onto the aged truck, climb in the back and head down the treacherous road into the rivine. We set up our camp as quickly as humanly possible so that we can begin to enjoy the nothingness that is camping in the desert.
Everywhere the eye can see is brown sand covering lumpy knobs that look like something out of a Dr. Seuss book. Strange plants defy the desert sun and choose life. Their thorns angrily shouting at any prey who might inadvertantly tramp on them. Lizards sun themselves on the rocks as we wait for our weekend neighbors to finish saying their noon prayers so we can introduce ourselves.
After the afternoon’s adventures we enjoy the respite the sunset brings to the day’s heat. We stare at the glorious heavens above as we drink hot cocoa and eat s’mores. Only in the desert does the Milky Way shine so bright and Mars sparkle its orange and red. And each of those billions of stars we can see is known by God and he calls them each by name. This is a concept that only begins to make sense when you can see the vastness of the universe from the nothingness of the desert sky.
At sunrise, the nothingness beckons me to venture out on my own. I find a crevice in a rock and sit and contemplate my place in this vast world as desert birds soar overhead and an ibex looks up to see who his intruder is. This nothingness is breathtaking. It’s magestic in its own rugid way. And I am reminded once again of the wild side of our Creator. The side of Him that shows us his determination and commitment to life. It proves that His will will be done regardless of the impossible situation.