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Out There

I was shooting in Saudi Arabia and became friendly with a group of geologists who were staying at my hotel. They were in the country to get some soil and rock samples and invited me to join one of their field trips. On a hot, brillant morning, we piled into two Land Rovers and headed into the desert. After a forty-five minute drive we stopped near a small village that was nothing more than a gathering of a few houses and palm trees. The group headed in the direction of some nearby dunes with me bringing up the rear.

I was looking around lamenting the fact that there was nothing much to shoot, but as I scanned the horizon, I came upon the unlikely sight of a man in a white robe, sitting in the sand. Every once in a while, he would bend forward and I assumed he was praying. Although he must have been from the nearby village, I found it peculiar that there were no footprints in the sand leading to where he was sitting. He looked terribly alone sitting there in that desolate expanse. I stopped and took some photographs.

By now, the group had opened up quite a distance. I rushed to catch up, which wasn’t easy in the 120 degree heat of the day. To my surprise, a couple of dogs appeared from behind one of the mounds nearby. They looked friendly enough and I started patting my thigh and calling out, “Hey, boys, c’mon over. C’mon over, fellas.”

They stood there panting and eyeing me closely, but didn’t move. I said, “Okay, suit yourself,” and hurried to catch up to the group. As I joined them, the guide said, “So, Mr. Gigli, did the wolves bother you?”

“Wolves? I though they were dogs! I tried to get them to come over, but they didn’t pay any attention to me.”

The Saudi guide laughed. “They were wolves all right. They were just waiting for you to fall down. Then they would have come over.”

That was the last time I allowed myself to become separated from the group.