In September 19, 2003, I was standing among the apparently endless empty sand dune of the Qatar
Peninsula just south of Doha and north of Mazra`at Turayna مزرعة ترينة . The warm wind was
constantly shifting the fine textured tan coloured sand from one dune to the next in endless cycles of monsoon winds, since time began. Each dune seemed different, but again much the same height and orientation determined by the wind. It was pleasant to be outside with no sight of anyone around me.
As I walked, the sand made a reassuring sound as it moved aside to the pressure of my step. As I lifted each foot to the next step the sand would flow silently back, aided by the wind, to quickly hide the evidence of my having ever been passing by.
I was in this place because I was leading an academic audit team of ten auditors for the Canadian
Bureau of International Education (CBIE) in Doha, Qatar.
I was not lost as I had just left my party travelling in a Land Rover, part of a caravan of vehicles that
that had bought me out onto the sand dunes. The vehicles were owned and operated by various
professors working in Doha at one of the foreign universities established there. The faculty had
arranged to take the whole team of auditors for a break after a week of hard work all indoors. While
the others in the group of more than twenty watch as the various high powered vehicles would race up a dune and slide precariously down without tipping over, I had climbed over the crest of the nearest dune and slid down the other side. Once arriving at the bottom of the next dune, I could not see or hear any sign of humanity and I felt a calm oneness with the land. I sat down and ran my fingers pensively through the sand as I gazed out at the beauty and wondered where this sand had been in times past.
I feel that God answered that question very suddenly, as my fingers touched something very hard and sharp. I shot my hand out of the sand thinking something terrible had bitten me. What I had felt was now partly uncovered by my explosive action. It contrasted starkly with the sand. I carefully dug
around it and came up with a beautiful 170 mm Murex sea shell. It held me in its spell for some time.
It was somewhat calcified on one side indicating it had been likely imbedded in coral before in had
arrived here. It was only slightly eroded. The Murex has been around since the Cretaceous period (125 million years ago) until the present. I wondered how old this Murex was and where it had travelled from? Was it around when Christ was born? This Murex shell remains a miracle of natural beauty and gift from our creator. I was humming "God is so good" to myself as I carried the shell in my hand back up the dune to join my team still watching the racing sand buggies in the dunes of Doha