The Bedouins call it Mar Mousa. Others call it Mt. Moses, Mt. Horeb or Mt. Sinai. But regardless of its name, millenia old tradition holds that it is the place where Moses ascended a difficult trail of broken stones (the same trail I ascended in the long hours of the afternoon) and received from the hand of God the stone tablets known as the Ten Commandments.
It is a demanding climb that takes many hours punctuated by many breaks along the way. Even in the coolness of the Sinai's late fall, I sweat and struggle with the broken boulders and the steep winding trail. Thankfully their are scattered Bedouin along the way who have made fires and sell for a few Egyptian pounds bottles of water and cups of fragrant sweat tea.
Late in the day, I reach the summit where I will wait for sunset and then descend in darkness to the Monastery of St. Catherine's below. I am comforted when I reach teh crest to find not only a chapel for my prayer, but a mosque close beside it so that the Bedouins too may make their prayers. In that moment of silence, a sparrow floats before me, suspended in the cool, still air. For a while, as the Bedouins and I pray peacefully together only steps from each other, I feel as if all the world is, if only for a fleeting second, as it should be.