The yellowing sky to the east, with fading stars and the moon above were the first clues the dust was down. Quickly, the rising star of ours heats the cool night air, and the convection currents stretch the rare, singular portion of the day, that, when the sky is clear and the lungs are not full of dirt, elicits rare smiles, deep inspirations and peaceful sighs from lone soldiers off to eat or come to work, the marching batallions still cool in the full gear which will cause them to sweat liters later in the day, and the legions of drivers, windows-down, contently moving their jeep, truck or tank down the road. But today's mission will not be in blindness of sand, and, given the cooler morning air and clear sky, will surely include an enjoyable shaded moment for lunch or rest in the afternoon. A quick rain brought the dirt from the air back to where it belonged, but before this, the monochromatism of the landscape was startling. Contrast was absent, and visibility severely diminished. There was no whipping, conical sand gales, but the dryness, and the steady breeze had erased all but a small fraction of the landscape's palatte. Each breath led to a cough or sneeze full of its contents. The windows of all vehicles were opaque, as if painted to be so. Air intake fans had, and still do, deposit daily coatings to everything that is inside.
So, I aim for a quick sleep, after only 13 hours of the past 84 spent in slumber, so that I can take a late afternoon walk, to where (well, there is no where to go), I am not sure; but to walk and breathe clear air while the birds are awake, the palm leaves still rustle, and life is vibrant - and not toilsome, beneath a merciless hot, and dirty fog - prior to my 12 nightime hours inside the hospital.