As the sun goes down, a stillness falls over Egypt. Water channels that cross the field turn to the colour of blood, then to bright yellow that faces into silver. The palm trees might be cut from black paper and pasted against the incandescence of the sky. Brown hawks that hang all day above the sugar-cane and the growing wheat are seen no more and, one by one, the stars burn over the sandhills and lie caught in the stiff fronds of the date palms.Isn't this as good as a rest? Read it slowly, let your mind's eye place you there, and take it all in. H.V. Morton is superb at telling us the history and people of a place, but I have never seen anyone dwell upon his lyrical descriptions. They are scattered throughout this book and come to me almost with a shock as he suddenly stops talking about being a tourist and turns attention to the physical.
It is this moment which remains for ever as a memory of Egypt, a moment when day is over and night has not yet unfolded her wings, a strange between-time in whose tremendous hush the earth seems listening for a message from the sky. The fierce day dies and the sand loses its heat and all things are for a brief space without shadow.
H.V. Morton, In the Steps of the Master