The dun colored expanse below was obscured by the thin haze of clouds. But the longer I gazed down at the ground speeding by I realized that it must be sand…not just sand but the sahara. And while I experienced my first taste of the sahara’s vastness in Egypt, there it felt contained. In cairo, despite air thick with sand and erupting with pyramids, the concrete and modern buildings provided a reprieve from the otherwise mind-parching reality of a desert as vast as the sahara.

But in morocco…in morocco the cities are ancient and the sand their oldest inhabitant. And so the architecture is the product and not the defiance of the sprawling desert.

I haven’t even seen it yet. Not in the flesh and brick and mosaic tile of it. Only photos sketching an immobile picture of life nestled between the ocean and mountains, and nestled in sand. Twenty thousand feet below me clouds continue to obscure my view of the seemingly infinite grains of sand below, and above the clouds I wait patiently for a formal introduction.

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