Monday, January 21, 2008

Seasonal Renewals

You would think that after over fifty Januaries, they would get to be a bit routine...but one of the things that keeps us alive is the fact that life changes all the time and you never know what you will find. This winter has been a good example. On the plus side of the register, I've had many more visitors this year than in years before. Over New Years I had two interesting Sue's visiting, one from Spain and the other from Kenya. I love listening to my guests' impressions of Egypt and the ways that life here differs from life in other places. Unfortunately for one of the Sue's, Kenya's elections did not lead to a peaceful New Year and she flew home early to check on her home and pets.

Riding with another visitor in the desert, we happened to go up a trail from a village to the sands that I'd never taken before and we found ourselves amidst pharaonic ruins on top of a hill. I'm used to seeing a stone wall or a pyramid, but these ruins were hallways and courtyards of a complexity that I haven't see before outside of some of the huge temples in Luxor. It's always so delightful to find something new in an area that you think is so familiar to you that you know it all. You never do know everything even about a patch of sand, and now I have the fun of sharing it with some of my local riding partners.

The winter weather that has us all shivering has been fairly unique in my experience here. I woke early one morning to find frost on my grass, a clean white carpet of real cold frost. The dogs were seriously unimpressed with it and in fact did everything they could to avoid walking on it. As far as they've ever known, the ground in the garden simply isn't white and cold. The lawn as well hasn't been too impressed with the frost and has turned a rather sad beige as a result, but I suspect that it will recover, since the frost only burned the green stems and not the roots. Canadian grass has to be much hardier to withstand the snow that they get in Alberta.

For my current batch of Canadian guests the contrast is pretty strong and they snicker a bit at our shivering in our rather feeble cold, but the wind whipping off the desert has had them zipping fleece jackets as well. Still, taking a good look at the desert and countryside through their eyes lets me see my surroundings anew. The children are on midyear holiday right now and not in school, which means that where ever we ride in the farming area we ride, we are surrounded by crowds of kids.

The children are ever hopeful that one of these days I will strike it rich and start distributing cash to them all, but there being far more of the children than there is money in my pocket, restricting my gifts to the odd photo printed in the study or a laugh and a chat seems to be the plan. They are good kids for the most part, with lovely dark brown or hazel eyes and big smiles.
Happily, Paddi and Linda enjoy the interactions and they've gotten some great photos. Guess it's time to warm up the printer.
copyright 2008 Maryanne Stroud Gabbani