I duck my head into the small dark opening off of one of the back streets of the Ancient Medina of Fes, turning to my friend to caution her. “Careful, it’s a small door.” I see her nodding behind me, and then return my gaze to the open courtyard that is unfolding in front of me.
A sensory overload hits me: my ears pick up the rhythmic clack-clack of the loom and my eyes are overwhelmed by the number of different shades and textures of cloth draped around the area.
Wooden looms and pillars covered with green vines are spread out around the courtyard. I didn’t know which weaver or scarf stand to look at first!
My friend and I head over to a loom backed against the stone wall and pause to watch the weaver work.
He looks up at us and smiles, but doesn’t lose his place in the covering he is creating, throwing the shuttle back and forth. I’m amazed at how fast he works–I see the cloth growing noticeably longer in front of my eyes.
We stand and admire the white cloth that he is completing, watching how he changes which thread he is using to make glossy patterns throughout the material.
Beside his loom is a corner filled with rows and rows of scarves of every color and style imaginable. The sun shines brightly into the courtyard, lighting up the range of fabrics before us. Brilliant reds featuring gold threads are next to softer blue scarves with green accents.
You can choose whether you want a coarse material, a silkier texture or even a combination of the two. Larger materials, such as bedspreads or curtains are farther to our right, nearby two other looms.
Since we will be traveling to the Sahara in our next few days of being in Morocco, we thought it would be a good idea to pick out some scarves that could shield us from the wind and sand. My friend picks up a red scarf with a gold edging and tries to wrap it around her head.
Within seconds, one of the men tending to the shop steps forward to help. He expertly ties it around her head, leaving part of it free to cover her face. He then chooses a scarf for me to try on and arranges it in another style altogether.
Choosing has never been so difficult! I want to try on almost every scarf my eyes see. I can tell that my friend feels the same way; she walks through the stands of scarves trailing her fingers across the soft materials.
In the end, we make our selections, reluctantly leaving other beautiful cloths behind. As we climb out of the dark passageway onto the street again, we are carrying the colors of Morocco with us.