Shadow in the Singing Sands

Shadow in the Singing Sands

Dragging my feet along the dune’s crest I notice the shadow falling away in the sand. Stopped, I am a willowy figure, impossibly tall, in a cloudless, windless expanse of sand beyond my cinematic imagination. A lone — lonely — silhouette for whom the Mountains of Singing Sands do not offer a whisper. Isolation. Solitude.

Framing the picture is easy, but the figure… the figure lacks form. A couple of poses make no improvement, until I hold my left arm out and the camera strap falls from my shoulder.


I have the moment. A shadow in the Singing Sands.

I use it now as a profile pic whenever I have lost something of significance: a loved one, my presence, my way. I lose myself in its scale, in its quiet, hide myself in its anonymity, disappear into remoteness. The odd, shadowy form mirrors the distorted, obscured sense of self, of place and time. “Here I am, but I am not really here at all.”

The arm. The arm was intuitive insight. There I am, reaching out. Seeking my way back.

Ming Sha Shan
“The Mountains of Singing Sands”
Dunhuang, China

Taken during travels, 1998.