Sweeping cobwebs from the edges of my mind
Had to get away to see what we could find
Hope the days that lie ahead
Bring us back to where they’ve led
Extract from the Marrackech Express, Crosby Stills and Nash.Songwriters: Graham NashMarrakesh Express lyrics © Spirit Music Group
I first visited Morocco in my early twenties. I was alone and afraid. Challenged by the unrecognisable culture. Fearful of the unknown.
On the train from Tangiers to Marrakech I took out my bottle of water. As I put the top back on I saw that all the other people in the carriage were looking at my in horror. What had I done wrong?
Scraping some rusty French from the back of my mind I asked one of the passengers. “Water is life,” he explained. “We all want life. So they don’t understand why you would have water and not share it.”
What a clear lesson for me. And there were others on that train. Stopping by some fields and the workers coming to the train to hand (not sell) grapes to the passengers. Those on the train passing out maybe a chunk of bread or a newspaper. The way that as the train emptied, instead of spreading out as we do in the west, the passengers moved to be closer together. By the time we arrived at Marrakech, many carriages were empty. And where there were people, they were sharing food, comforting each other’s babies, telling jokes, listening kindly. With strangers.
Mutuality mattered more than individuality.
What better context for understanding and exploring self and connectivity?