This area has a rich and ancient culture. For thousands of years men have died to control this area. Religion, fame and fortune have motivated them to shed blood and risk it all. Over those years certain rituals have developed and then have been passed down from generation to generation.
I'm lucky enough to be part of that tradition. Those who have gone before me have passed along this right of passage. Each person has his own variation in this sacred dance. There are some tools/props that can be used to enhance the spiritual effectiveness of it. Unfortunately I don't have a picture to share today. Local customs prevent me from revealing the exact nature of this dance, but I'll try to describe it with words so you too can experience the land of Babylon.
Picture a wall...could be short could be tall.
A man steps up to it clothes and all.
He raises one leg with the other standing firm
and beats his boot against the berm.
Some use brushes and bristles to scrub,
while others use wire and curbs to rub.
The mud flys and slings around
And sticks everywhere - but the ground.
He stomps his boot till his toes start to numb
Try as he might - he still looks pretty dumb.
This dance he perfects and becomes quite adept
at keeping the mud and muck away from where he slept
though desert and sandy dirt abound
there's not a dry spot to be found.
And when he is done
and the sky returns with sun
this man know his enemy has been vanquished...he's won!
Seriously - I meant to take a picture of us all stomping and scraping every time we get to a building. The sun is still not out enough to really dry things up. One commented the mud had the consistency of microwaved laffy-taffy, my personal favorite is chocolate cake batter. When a truck drives through it leaves a trail but the mud slowly oozes back over the tread impressions and leaves a flat smooth puddle. We kick and stomp and scrape and still leave mud all over the buildings we go in. It's a mess.
I'm still working on a name for the dance. Feel free to submit your suggestions:
Iraqi Mud Shuffle (IMS)
Baghdad Mud Stomp (BMS)
Desert Dirt Dance (Triple D)
One commented - we didn't know how good we had it before we started fighting the mud.
Soon it will be hot and we'll complain about the heat
but for now we just stomp and clean our feet.