Friday, September 12, 2008

Desert Retreat

I had a wonderful time out at Wadi Natrun for two days on a personal retreat. It was time for a spiritual recharge and some peace and quiet so I could clear out all the stuff that so often seems to clog up my prayer times. There have been monasteries in the Wadi since the fourth century, so some people feel that there is an "open heaven" there due to the continued prayer over the last 1600 years.

Here's an excerpt from my journal for one evening:

Sitting on the roof watching the sun set over the lake, reading Mark's gospel. Listening to the mosques all around broadcasting the Koran, until finally there is five minutes of silence before they break out with the call to prayer and Iftar can finally begin. The last few tractors and trucks and tuk-tuks find their way home as the light fades and peace descends on the wadi. There's the magical sound of hooves on the road in the background and a horse and cart comes in to view in the distance, the driver galloping home, late for his meal.

Birds fly low over the lake, Egrets, Curlews, Geese and Senegal Thick-Knees, their cries are amplified by the silence. Down in the prayer room below me, a worship session kicks off, the sound of Arabic praise songs with a tabla back-beat drifts up to my roof top and I am eventually chased indoors by the mosquitoes.

The Road to the Retreat Centre

The door to my balcony

The view from my rooftop prayer spot over the salt lake to the desert

Bible, candles, Moleskines, Uni-ball & Papermate Clearpoint



Monson said...

Hey Mark,

I couldn't help but appreciate your fine Moleskine notebook featured in one of those pictures. I should point you towards where they have some excellent leather covers for moleskine journals. Of course, you could probably get some cool custom made ones in Egypt for cheaper... I miss that place

Mark Jaffrey said...

That's a nice idea Ryan. I'm sure I can find something similiar here.