Passing clouds filter the tropical sun, throwing brushstrokes of light across an endless sea of dunes. I took this midway through...

The Sharp Edge of Light

Lencois Maranhenses Sand Dunes, Brazil.

Passing clouds filter the tropical sun, throwing brushstrokes of light across an endless sea of dunes. I took this midway through my trek across the lakes and dunes of Lencois Maranhenses, Brazil. If you look carefully at the foreground you can see the footprints of a roaming goat that lives in a nearby oasis. A small crystalline stream runs between two lakes below the dunes and these fresh water lakes make the dunes of Lencois unique in the world. After taking this image, I wandered back to my oasis camp in the dark and I thought about a favorite passage by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry as he awaited rescue in the middle of the Sahara:

"Sitting in the flickering light of the candles on this kerchief of sand, on this village square, we waited in the night. We were waiting for the rescuing dawn - or for the Moors. Something, I know not what, lent this night a savor of Christmas. We told stories, we joked, we sang songs. In the air there was that slight fever that reigns over a gaily prepared feast. And yet we were infinitely poor. Wind, sand, and stars. The austerity of Trappists. But on this badly lighted cloth, a handful of men who possessed nothing in the world but their memories were sharing invisible riches."
Photo © copyright by Michael Anderson.

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