On 30th July, 2015, a friend of mine mailed me this awesome story from the book “Like the flowing river” by Paulo Coelho asking me whether I could use it as an article on my website. To say the least, I am flattered. Those of you who have not read the book yet, stick around-you don’t want to miss this one.
A young cloud was born in the midst of a great storm over the Mediterranean Sea, but he did not even have time to grow up there, for a strong wind pushed all the clouds over towards Africa. As soon as the clouds reached the continent, the climate changed. A bright sun was shining in the sky and, stretched out beneath them, lay the golden sands of the Sahara. Since it almost never rains in the desert, the wind continued pushing the clouds towards the forests in the south. Meanwhile, as happens with young humans too, the young cloud decided to leave his parents and his older friends in order to discover the world.
‘What are you doing?’ cried the wind. ‘The desert’s the same all over. Rejoin the other clouds, and we’ll go to Central Africa where there are amazing mountains and trees!’ But the young cloud, a natural rebel, refused to obey, and, gradually, he dropped down until he found a gentle, generous breeze that allowed him to hover over the golden sands. After much toing and froing, he noticed that one of the dunes was smiling at him. He saw that the dune was also young, newly formed by the wind that had just passed over. He fell in love with her golden hair right there and then. ‘Good morning,’ he said. ‘What’s life like down there?’ ‘I have the company of the other dunes, of the sun and the wind, and of the caravans that occasionally pass through here. Sometimes it’s really hot, but it’s still bearable. What’s life like up there?’ ‘We have the sun and wind too, but the good thing is that I can travel across the sky and see more things.’ ‘For me,’said the dune, ‘life is short. When the wind returns from the forests, I will disappear.’ ‘And does that make you sad?’ ‘It makes me feel that I have no purpose in life.’ ‘I feel the same. As soon as another wind comes along, I’ll go south and be transformed into rain; but that is my destiny.’ The dune hesitated for a moment, then said: ‘Did you know that here in the desert, we call the rain paradise?’ ‘I had no idea I could ever be that important,’said the cloud proudly. ‘I’ve heard other older dunes tell stories about the rain. They say that, after the rain, we are all covered with grass and flowers. But I’ll never experience that, because in the desert it rains so rarely.’
It was the cloud’s turn to hesitate now. Then he smiled broadly and said: ‘If you like, I could rain on you now. I know I’ve only just got here, but I love you, and I’d like to stay here for ever.’ ‘When I first saw you up in the sky, I fell in love with you too,’ said the dune. ‘But if you transform your lovely white hair into rain, you will die.’ ‘Love never dies,’ said the cloud. ‘It is transformed, and, besides, I want to show you what paradise is like.’
And he began to caress the dune with little drops of rain, so that they could stay together for longer, until a rainbow appeared. The following day, the little dune was covered in flowers. Other clouds that passed over, heading for Africa, thought that it must be part of the forest they were looking for and scattered more rain. Twenty years later, the dune had been transformed into an oasis that refreshed travellers with the shade of its trees. And all because, one day, a cloud fell in love, and was not afraid to give his life for that love.
This left me thinking, is it possible?
To say simply, oases are formed when water gets pushed towards the surface due to underground water reserve or underground river, with no permeable rocks around the newly formed water body to seep into.
Oases cannot form alone due to rain however, rain can greatly influence underground water reserves thus forcing them to break through surface to form oases. For that to happen, you would of course need underground water reserve in the first place.
As it turns yet, luckily enough, Sahara also have some of the largest underground water reserves. To top it all up, if it rains over a sand dune, it gets collected in one centralized base where the water collected is enough to seep deeper into the ground till it eventually opens up a way to some underground water body.
So yah.. This story is absolutely possible scientifically. Next time you see a “paradise”, do take a moment to wonder what’s it love story might have been.
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