In such circumstances the mind is influenced through the body. Â Though your mouth glows, and your skin is parched, yet you feel no languor,- the effect of dry heat; your lungs are lightened, your sight brightens, your memory recovers its tone, and your spirits become exuberant. Â Your fancy and imagination are powerfully aroused, and the wildness and siblimity of the scenes around you, stir up all the energies in your soul, whether exertion, danger, or strife. Â Your morale improves; you become frank and cordial, hospitable and single-minded; the hypocritical politeness and the slavery of Civilization are left behind you. Â Your senses are quickened; they require no stimulants but air and exercise; in the desert spriritous liquors excite only disgust.
There is a keen enjoyment in mere animal existence. Â The sharp appetite disposes of the most indigestible food; the sand is softer than a bed of down, and the purity of the air suddenly puts flight a dire cohort of diseases.
Here Nature returns to Man, however unworthily he has treated her, and, believe me, when once your tastes have conformed to the tranquility of such travel, you will suffer real pain in returning to the turmoil of civilization. Â You will anticipate the bustle and confusion of artificial life, its luxuries and its false pleasures, with repugnance. Â Depressed in spirits, you will for a time after your return feel incapable of mental or bodily exertion. Â The air of the Cities will suffocate you, and the careworn and cadaverous countenances of citizens will haunt you like a vision of judgement.
Personal journal entry of Richard Burton during his Pilgrimage to Meccah and Medinah circa 1853. From ‘The Life of Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton’ by Isabel Burton, published in 1893 (via books.google.com).
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