A shadow in the far distance. Colours break in the glaring sunlight, shimmer apparently over the sand, submerge themselves deceptively in water. The swell of my camel does not help in the least to make the already moving picture far in front of my eyes more tangible in my senses. I still cannot see what the seen is in truth, which winds restlessly over the sand. My animal trots on comfortably, while my gaze tries to focus on the structure in the rocking of its steps, which is now slowly approaching. The contours become clearer and clearer, straighten out the distorted image, fit together like millions upon millions of scattered pixels, as if by magic, more and more into a recognizable whole
A few meters later I let my mount slide and stand directly opposite the structure. They are the remains of a ruined wall.
Once a blooming oasis, it is now a shadow of days gone by. Donated courage of life to exhausted caravans, served heads of desert tribes as a backdrop for peaceful negotiations and festivities or inspired poets and writers to adventurous stories from 1001 Nights. Today's visitors are, at best, wandering animals in search of some cooling shade and a drink of water, wind-borne seeds of distant plants, or people like me walking the paths of dreams and listening to the stories of abandoned walls. I haven't been here for a long time. The oasis has become even more decayed, which did not let me recognize it before. Piece by piece, the desert recovers the building blocks that people had taken from their laps back then. She will continue to devote the following years only to this search for her stolen body. Seemingly greedily, she yearns not to leave even a single grain of sand behind. Perhaps one day there will be nothing left of the former source of light and life.
Suddenly, a smell rises in my nose that has nothing in common with the old walls, the individual palm trees, thinned bushes and the water pond. Something strange that doesn't belong here. Something to live by
I try to follow the scent. The constantly blowing wind does not make the search for the origin easy for me. Carefully I put one foot in front of the other. Apparently buried spaces under the sand can become deadly traps. I also try not to support myself on the walls, which already have cracks between them that have been so washed out by the wind that they can hardly stand upright. Everything here can collapse at any time and sink into nothingness. Finally I turn into a kind of deep dome, a structure that is still amazingly well preserved and protected by the surrounding walls, defying the weather and the times. In its centre is a small altar. The two burning candles and the incense sticks on them reveal a recent visit. Some carved figures made of wood and bone form a circle. Inside it is a white bowl, of almost pure flower colour and almost flawless varnish. Its lustre is still so fresh and new that it almost mirrors the objects lying within it. I'm approaching carefully. In the bowl I see saffron and other ground spices, lavender twigs broken and dried finger-long, myrrh resin nuggets, woody pieces of labdanum and a brown powder. Gently rubbed between the fingers, it reveals its secret to me. It is Styrax, finely ground and with its typical ambry-smoky note. The different aromas from the peel blend, depending on the wind blowing in under the dome, to a sometimes spicy, sometimes ambry mixture, but at all times very pleasant and relaxing. Three small vessels with plugs are placed near the bowl. I carefully open the first one and immediately the note of musk comes towards me. In the second, ground amber rests, and in the third, I find lavender again, this time, however, ground and mixed with rose petals in a resin. As a perfumer, I feel like I'm in a fragrance paradise here and I can't resist. I take a tiny bit of everything and grind it between my palms until it becomes a warm, oily pulp with gradually crushed particles. More and more the scent of the mixture rises in my nose and settles on my senses. The rose, however, I perceive most, lavender gives it a very special note and amber and musk trim what is angular to soft contours. The spices provide a slight tickling in the nose and a strong seal between the individual scent molecules. The rising vapours of the incense sticks provide depth and a grounded character of the fragrance.
While my soul is trying to get out of my mind, I hear a noise behind me and drive around in horror. A large figure veiled in black cloth is standing in the opening of the dome through which I also came. There are dark eyes to be seen, a hasty breath to be heard. I guess neither of us expected to find anyone here.
With tentative steps the figure slowly approaches. In the translucent light of the sun, the dagger is shining menacingly under the braided leather cord that ties the robe. I am getting hotter and hotter and I feel the rising fear. I love scents more than anything else but I am certainly not ready to die for them. Just as I am about to explain my presence, the figure speaks to me
"Tina, is that you...?!"
More than astonished I try to assign the dimmed male voice under the cloth to someone from my life.
"I can't believe it...it's really you...!" I hear and this time the disbelief gives way from his previous tone of pure joy and the supposed stranger tears the cloth off his face. Dumbfounded, I look into a tanned, radiant face with dark eyes and blinding white teeth.
"Michael...?" That's all I can say. Already I am pressed violently and hearted so that I almost lose my breath. Michael Osbourne. An old schoolmate, extremely loyal and reliable and above all a good, loyal friend who turned his back on big city life a good year ago and set off on a trip around the world for an inner reflection. Again and again his video messages from different countries and cities have reached me. At the lit campfire I learn more about his presence in this desert oasis. The small altar is a self-discovery point. Michael comes here regularly to be alone, to reflect and meditate. The scents around him, bring down his essence and relax him. He sees some things more clearly, is more focused
I turn around after him as I ride away on my camel and towards the distant city and wave to him. In two days we will meet again, then he will take me with his vivid stories on his previous journeys and share his impressions with me.
An impression will stay with me for the rest of my life and delight my heart, because it is part of one of his stories.
It's our encounter under the dome.
Under the dome of an old oasis in the desert sand...