The Echoes of Fes by Noah Taxis

by tuftsigl
Jul 19

We almost missed it. We had spent the whole of the day wandering through the labyrinthine corridors of Fes, and we had just hailed a taxi from outside of the ‘old town’ so as to see the sunset from above. If we would have stopped to look at one more pair of shoes for Obaid, or purchased another jus d’avocat we wouldn’t have had the good fortune to experience what we did. I think this contingency makes the experience all the more gratifying, retrospectively.

But we didn’t miss it. We walked up to the Marinid Dynasty 13th century ruins, climbed up onto sheer ledges and, perched, waited. The sun gradually set, and with it, a dampened rainbow mosaic emerged on the eastern horizon. These colors grew more and more vivid as the sun plunged further and further down, ever closer to the western horizon. Then, the call to prayer began. From all around us, asynchronous chanting burst from microphones ­­ a haunting cacophony of muslim adherence rang our eardrums, lasting for minutes. Partway through this aural orchestra, a group of cows was being led over the hill we were on top of, and they chimed in, producing their own distinctive harmonies. Their mooing eventually faded away into the distance, as the colors of the rainbow sunset slowly faded closer and closer to purples and blues. With this clear transition, Obaid, Kirsten and I decided to descend from our vista and embark on an exploratory exit mission. The other side of the hill was marked by hundreds of white speckled tombs, which bordered a freeway heading in the direction of our suburb. Thanks in part to my extreme enthusiasm, we pursued this route, reading headstones in Arabic and experiencing the last remnants of the setting sun from a new perspective. A few shabs hung about this graveyard, with whom Obaid made easy conversation. As we left and caught our second taxi of the night, the sky again transitioned from a deep purple to a darkest black. But contrasting with this visual temporality, the haunting echoes of the call juxtaposed with the mooing of the herd still rings in my ears, as vivid as the night we sat atop the Marinid tombs. 


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