The Heart of Nature

Posted on: June 8, 2015

The author's shadow at Truitjieskraal, South Africa. [Photo] David Pickford

In the dream, splinters of starlight surge from the summit ridge. After a while, they burn out and are lost in the desert night.

"Andy, you awake?"


An hour before dawn, February 2005, I sit upright in my sleeping bag under a gnarled acacia tree, by a smoldering fire at the edge of a goat paddock in Oman. Six thousand feet above, the blue dark of the lukewarm winter night is broken by the outline of a serrated summit ridge like the upturned spine of a stupendous primeval beast. Below the crest, a wall of pale limestone plummets more than 3,000 feet to vast scree cones.

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