I took the featured photo from my hotel room in Alexandria, looking out over the Fort of Alexandria. It was only about 5pm, and I watched the sun set for almost an hour. I knew that it would be beautiful. Something about the climate of the Middle East / North Africa reliably produces the most beautiful sun sets / rises that I’ve ever seen. The night prior, I was being driven to my hotel from the airport and was neglecting conversation with the driver as I craned my neck out the car window trying to fill my eyes – like they were starved for the sights. So vivid that the whole world changes colour; turning reality itself into a piece of art. Made still more beautiful as the evening prayer rings out from speakers all around you.

When I met with my guide for dinner, he asked if I’d taken a nap after a long day in the hot sun. I told him that I’d been watching the sun set. I couldn’t help but go on about it, despite that I could tell that he was unmoved. It wasn’t a particularly remarkable sunset, he explained. But it was to me, I explained.

It reminded me of the time I was in the Musée d’Orsay and I saw a man furtively touch Whistler’s Mother. And in a weird way, I entirely understood the impulse. The same way it felt to see my hands and arms change colours in the tinted light: a near surreality washing over you such that you struggle to engage with it.

But the magic only lasts so long as it remains extraordinary. And it causes me to reflect on what magic in my own life I can’t fully appreciate: fresh snowfall, a home cooked meal, a good husband. Some magic, I’m sure, I wouldn’t even think to name.

Posted in: Beauty

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