Date: Sat, 18 Nov 2000 19:48:58 GMT
From: Claude Marthaler
Subject: "One"

Dear Redfishes!
Nouakchott, Mauritania, km 112,34O

I looked a last time back, south of river Senegal. Green and red watermelons, oranges and juicy mangoes, the joviality of Black Africa, with its musical pulse in its tropical lethargy.

Malaria had beaten me four times, but this morning, my wheels were at the door of the desert: both tires were flat, like an unexpected fatal sign. Desert was everywhere: in the closed turbaned faces of the Maures, who expressed their ancestors warrior' s features as in the landscape, which was minimal, bringing back to time immemorial and erasing any ambition. No wonder that Islam (which means precisely "Submission"), as all monotheists religions, was born in the desert. Perfectly homogeneous like a certitude, like a giant mirror of the burning sky, the landscape punctured simultaneously my soul and my tires.

There was no "land escape" possible in this no man's land. Round huts had disappeared, disseminated square houses, like lost extinghished stars confounded themselves to the rolling brown sand. In fact, the road, commanded by distance, avoided curves, going straight to the point. One spoke little, but well. An economy of gestures, of expressions, disappearing calendars. The landscape was so powerful: so poor to become pure, so immobile to force a handful of humans to nomadism. Sipping green tea with mint, heads covered by turbans whose faces disappeared into calabashes full of Camel milk to reappear covered with a white veil , like a remainder of this old ocean. Silent and timeless desert! Its permanent wind (absent only under a Maure's tent) had from the beginning erased the superficial, naturally concentrating my strength to ride solo up north, towards my roots, the fast Old Continent, Europe...

The YAK_


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