Haunting sounds drift over from the next truck, enveloping us in the spiritual embrace of another world. The Gurkhas are softly singing.
We are lying inside our cotton liners on the back of our DROPS, looking up at the sky and thinking how surreal it all is. Two weeks ago we were in Wales, dodging summer showers and speeding traffic. Now we’re in the desert looking up at the cloudless Iraqi sky listening to strangers chanting. We’re all so far from home.
This tiny patch of desert is destined to become a bustling army encampment, but for now, only one tent keeps our four wagons company. The full moon softly caresses ripples of dusty sand below us, casting blue-grey shadows into the hollows. Above, millions of stars sprinkled across the heavens are more vivid with the absence of man-made lighting. The smell of hot sand finally cooling after another scorching day, mingles with the scent of sweating bodies and diesel engines ‘pinking’ as they cool.
There is no breeze, no rustling vegetation, no scurrying animals or rumbling machinery. It would be silent in this endless, empty space if it were not for the singing. For tonight though, the warm scents, the heat of the night, the gentle moonlight and the lullaby, cocoon us in a comfort blanket, softly soothing us into restful sleep.
Tomorrow’s worries will wait.