The Salt Lake
So the place reappeared, as at the time of our arrival, beautiful and flat to no end. An unspecified soil, which responds to the tasty name of "Salt Lake".
What does it mean for a non-specialist, besides the hope of locating the exact location, to the nearest millimeter, of a point on a sheet also millimeter-sized, the indication of a space-time coordinate. Nothing for those of us who have stopped practicing the high language of numbers. Nothing, if not a distant memory of rattling calculus and angry rustling of leaves destined for the wastepaper basket. This unmissable image of our past schoolchild has however returned to visit me in a place of the most improbable ... a priori improbable. This place has no name, and it is justice. Since I call it "time" of his first name "space". Yet light-years away from the most basic of mathematical equations, this locality immediately elicits in the viewer the word "coordinate" (at least for me), a watchword as mathematics can be, and so little, metaphysics, when she juggles with the concepts of space and time. Standing on this familiar floor that I had never seen (which inspires you with love is still familiar) I found myself dreaming of abscissa and ordinate, of a fixed point, of a center. It was brief, dazzling, and unscientific. Standing in the middle of nowhere, the fraternal smile I love most in the world has pulled me out of myself.
So the place reappeared, as at the time of our arrival, beautiful and flat to no end. An unspecified soil, which responds to the tasty name of "Salt Lake". Once it was a sea. Then it became a lake, before the water retreated, leaving behind its precious crystals that now form a compact sheet, a white covering that covers all its area, the west of the great Kévir Iranian. There, I would always like my journey to begin and end with the kevir, a huge container that overflows on its periphery; towards the very Holy Qom, the plain of Varamin, Guarmsar, north west and north; to the extreme is also, on Eshg Abad the aptly named; to Aran-and-Bidgol finally, west of the Great Lake, "last stop before the thirst" I said to myself while trying my gourd, well sheltered in our 4x4 foolproof (even poorly lived, adventure is adventure). We went to the big lake. Aran-and-Bidgol was our penultimate stopover. Previously, we had skirted "Hoz-e-Soltan" another salt lake that our compatriots continue to confuse with the lake of our story. The view of this lake sample did not fail to delight me. I was the only member of the team to never have ventured into the heart of the Kévir, and "Hoz-é-Soltan" appeared to me (the absence of helping elements of comparison) such an immense snowy plain. Nonchalantly, we crossed Kashan, then, Aran-and-Bidgol. Already the little town seemed tiny to us, so much so that its limits seemed to merge with the now frank emptiness of the landscape; first rocky, bushy, mountainous in places and therefore sinuous, the scenery metamorphosed substantially before our eyes. Gradually the rough sinuosities gave way to the curve of the dunes of fine sand. We walked along the ancient fort of Marandjab (one of the last vestiges of the very romantic Silk Road) before leaving the beaten track, and thus putting our four-wheel drive to the test. We left our vehicle. It was time for us to receive our first "puffs" of space in the face. "What an immense prayer rug" I thought, letting an uncontrollable series of images pass through my head, some truly inspired by the majesty of the place, others gleaned mechanically from the countless cinematographic clichés that clutter again and forever my (our?) memory (s). I wanted to authenticate my feelings by associations of ideas. I suddenly had the unpleasant feeling of being a Sunday traveler, a tourist looking for "déjà vu". The arrival of a herd of camel accentuated this sensation. They made me irresistibly think, considering their wild nudity, the quadrupeds of the American peplums (Laurence of Arabia in mind). These ridiculous commonplaces of my stereotypical city-dweller's spirit, however, left me quickly, as soon as my friends began to circle the flock methodically. Perplexed, the animals dispersed, or at least tried to disperse, thus provoking, undoubtedly, a disorder never seen of memory of camel, at least in the surroundings. I mingled with the game. I caressed the juvenile hope of riding for a few moments one of those mounts so uncooperative. As for my comrades, they were certain to succeed. Very quickly disillusioned, we returned to our car that brought us obediently to our stretch of road, to the horizon ...
indeed the horizon, because suddenly we saw before us (me amazed, my comrades
satisfied) a flat surface that stretched to the extreme point of our gaze, to the horizon (this infinity of empiricists) I said. We entered the panorama following the muddy trail left by our rare predecessors. The landscape scrolled to the right and left of the vehicle. The earthy soil slowly lost its shades of brown: dark brown, light brown, light brown streaked with white, and suddenly, an irruption of white. Misery and candor of the soil; whiteness for any answer to the interrogative fixity of my gaze. I turned to see one last time the rest of color that was moving away from the back of the car, then in the rearview mirror. We plunged into the heart of the salty expanse.
More than an ounce of color came to undo the uniformity of the lunar decor that never stopped to open in front of our windshield. Launched at full speed, we tear the perspective. Once again familiar images overwhelmed me and I felt like I was in the presence of a dynamic image, modeled and visible through a large computer screen: on the front windshield, in the center of the screen, a white surface materialized to immediately dissolve on the ledges, re-materializing on the side windows, before leaving behind our back in the form of a fledgling table. Our navigator braked suddenly and the car stopped swerving. I was the last to step on the cracked ground. The salt crystals dangled the ground; the light was devouring the air. The salty coating crunched under our feet. The abscissa and the ordinate were multiplied. I turned my back on my comrades to definitely lose the north. The pure space prevailed over the measurable space. A violent impulse of life overwhelmed me; a laugh sprang out of my lungs, banged against the aluminum of the car and was caught flying and returned by my companions. Miracle of the place, barely articulated, sounds were scattered in the universe (or dissolve prosaically in the atmosphere). We sat for a long time on the salt, in silence, pensive, a little ridiculous I must say. Pitiful Magelans on an ocean without water, on a paradoxical soil, compact like granite and friable like limestone. Pitious I felt, as if ignored by the majesty of the setting that annulled me and my brothers, while I persisted in my inadequate and anachronistic position of explorer in search of discovery. Glad I was, however happy, that I say, enthusiastic, to have admired, the incredible Salt Lake.
The sun was falling. We then went back home. We crossed the landscape a second time (now twilight) We soon returned to the world of substance; our place of origin: the big city, the immense metropolis, another time, another space.
Peace in time ... peace in space.