Chase the Water

In the 1980s, on the Red Sea coast side of the Hejaz mountains in Saudi Arabia, I worked for four years and never saw rain.

The 1980s Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Western Region shepherds, the goatherds had, as Bedouins always had, steered their flocks toward the parts of the landscape that had cloud bursts or rainstorms most recently. In the 1980s they used Toyota trucks as their primary mode of transportation.

The 1980s Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Western Region shepherds, the goatherds had, as Bedouins always had, steered their flocks toward the parts of the landscape that had cloud bursts or rainstorms most recently. In the 1980s they used Toyota trucks as their primary mode of transportation.

It was always about chasing the water. Water was unpredictable and transient. Transient forbs and grasses were located differently every year, every season. Life depended on successful reading the landscape.

But this wasn’t the Empty Quarter.

The Empty Quarter was empty, why? Because no one could read the landscape, no one could read the water. No life. Empty.

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