The Conclusion …As the path narrows and gets steeper, we trust in the moonlight and Mahmoud who knows this steep and occasionally treacherous trail in the dark. I didn’t know it yet, but we were only half way to the top. My heart was pounding as we gained altitude, keeping a steady pace. A little before sunrise when I could see where we’d been, I was stunned to see the wide vista of those magnificent mountains and the trails and ledges we had navigated. If I’d known at the time what was between me and the edge, I’d have been crazy with fear! As it was, Mahmoud led us out on to a cantilevered ledge perched thousands of feet high away from the crowd to sit and watch the little golden orb peek above these spectacular mountains. The light was incredible. People started singing again, others meditated, some cheered and laughed. It was a party up there!

The trek down

On the way back down our guide shared his culture and life with me. He’s one of 12 children from a family with 2 wives. He’s saving half his money for the dowry for a bride though he’s not yet met her! The rest goes to his mother. He had tried schooling in Cairo but missed the freedom of the desert and returned to Sharm. Part way down the mountain he stopped and bought a rock crystal and an alabaster carved egg from a local for me, which are sitting on my desk here at home. At the bottom, he asked for a hug and with tears in both our eyes, vowed to email although his email didn’t work.

I think we meet special souls in life who are there just for a moment in time and for some important reason. Reaching out a hand in the darkness, an open heart with a stranger, this was Mahmoud. I think of him sometimes and know we have a connection across time. I say about travel, that it can create peace on earth when people from different lands can see God in one another’s eyes. And I know where you are tonight, Mahmoud.