Meet the Dunes of the Desert
Just like the crew of Odysseus, you, your team and all the wanderers before you have been enchanted by the beautiful silence of the dunes. You get out of the bus. You kick off your slippers. You stand in front of the dunes. And then you climb.
by Elora, student at DNS 2016
You have been imagining them since childhood. At that time, you were losing yourself in stories written in books. You were reading about bandits and you could smell the scent of their spices, imagining their scars, camels and colourful turbans. You were wondering how it would be to walk for days in the desert. You were dreaming of falling asleep looking at the starry sky of the desolate Sahara. It has always been something fascinating but at the same time extremely far away. Something to dream about. The dunes of the desert.
Odysseus was enchanted
And then you see them. The desert, until that moment, was flat empty land. You learned, in fact, that nearby the coast that is how it looks like. Fascinating – but not magical. But then you see the dunes. And they are beautiful. Big. Unexpected. They seem to call you. You feel like Odysseus, his crew and all the sailors before them; enchanted by the beautiful singing of the sirens.
Just like the crew of Odysseus, you, your team and all the wanderers before you have been enchanted by the beautiful silence of the dunes. You get out of the bus. You kick off your slippers. You stand in front of the dunes.
An exhilarating climb
And then you climb them. It is harder than expected. Your legs struggle to make steps ahead and the sand is warm under your feet. But you love it. You are a child. Everybody around you becomes a child. Someone makes huge steps running towards the top, someone is rolling down, someone has already sand all over. “I want a dune in my backyard” you hear someone saying. You walk and walk until you reach the top.
And then you sit there. You find an isolated place. You feel the sudden need of being alone. You sit and you are not an excited child anymore. You contemplate the vastness and the silence in front of your eyes. “Little Prince” author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry once wrote: “I have always loved the desert. One sits down on a desert sand dune, sees nothing, hears nothing. Yet through the silence something throbs, and gleams…”
A deep connection
You, in fact, feel touched without knowing why. You realise you are nothing but a grain of sand in the desert. The idea somehow doesn’t scare you. You think how the dunes keep moving and changing; how one day they are there and the day after they are not. And so, you think of people you lost; how things keep changing. You admire that silence and you start believing that music was born from it. You ponder about everything and nothing. You feel like you gained something but at the same time you feel lighter. You perceive yourself as wiser.
Goodbye for now
And then you head back. To you it seems like many of your team mates experienced something similar. Curious. You sit back in your seat, covered in sand and you start wondering…. how is it possible that the same place in a few minutes can make you feel like a playing child and a wise elder?
And then you leave them behind. Don’t forget the road is long and you need to keep going. You get now you will meet them again soon. You know they gave you something you will carry with you for the rest of your life.
Meeting the dunes... an unforgettable experience
I have always loved the desert. One sits down on a desert sand dune, sees nothing, hears nothing. Yet through the silence something throbs, and gleams. ~ Antoine Saint-Exupery
To choose the path of teaching took me some time, I must say. It started on my very first 1st of September, this is the day when the school year starts in Lithuania. I simply loved it. And I am not talking about the lessons and tests, but about all the kinds of people I got to interact with and about the learning process that was happening there, somehow in between lessons most of the time. Though I was in love with the school and Summer holidays always seemed too long of a break, I never thought I will become a teacher. It is now, when I reflect, I see lots of sense in my actions and choices that led me to choose this profession.
Imagine you had to make a list, a catalogue, of all that exists. Where would you start?
You would probably look around, and start to name or to write down everything that you see or that comes to your mind. Soon, you would come across some dilemmas, and start to notice that it is not always so easy to establish what exists and what doesn’t. Do feelings exist, since they are not seen in the material world but just experienced internally? Probably yes, you would say. But then, do fictional characters exist, since they are not seen in the material world but just experienced mentally? This is a bit more challenging. Another dilemma: is a chair something that exists on its own? Or is it rather nothing but the sum of the pieces of wood that it is made of? Then maybe we shouldn’t include chairs on our catalogue of all that exists, it is enough to write ‘wood’. But following this line of thoughts, isn’t wood just a sum of molecules, which in turn are just a sum of atoms? Shouldn’t we then just write ‘atoms’ in our list? As you might have observed, the catalogue is very much subject to interpretation: a particle physicist’s catalogue will probably end up looking very different from your very own catalogue.
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