Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Not everything is lost.

Yesterday was a tough day for me and I am feeling quite down, but then I remembered this essay below that I had read a few days ago.... I thought I would share it.  Somebody else's beautiful story, but a sentiment I share none the less even on a very bad day.


Gate A-4 By Naomi Shihab Nye:
Wandering around the Albuquerque Airport Terminal, after learning my flight had been delayed four hours, I heard an announcement: “If anyone in the vicinity of Gate A-4 understands any Arabic, please come to the gate immediately.” Well— one pauses these days. Gate A-4 was my own gate. I went there.
An older woman in full traditional Palestinian embroidered dress, just like my grandma wore, was crumpled to the floor, wailing. “Help,” said the flight agent. “Talk to her . What is her problem? We told her the flight was going to be late and she did this.”
I stooped to put my arm around the woman and spoke haltingly. “Shu-dow-a, shu-bid-uck, habibti? Stani schway, min fadlick, shu-bit-se-wee?” The minute she heard any words she knew, however poorly used, she stopped crying. She thought the flight had been cancelled entirely. She needed to be in El Paso for major medical treatment the next day. I said, “No, we’re fine, you’ll get there, just late, who is picking you up? Let’s call him.”
We called her son, I spoke with him in English. I told him I would stay with his mother till we got on the plane. She talked to him. Then we called her other sons just for the fun of it. Then we called my dad and he and she spoke for a while in Arabic and found out of course they had ten shared friends. Then I thought just for the heck of it why not call some Palestinian poets I know and let them chat with her? This all took up two hours.
She was laughing a lot by then. Telling about her life, patting my knee, answering questions. She had pulled a sack of homemade mamool cookies— little powdered sugar crumbly mounds stuffed with dates and nuts— from her bag and was offering them to all the women at the gate. To my amazement, not a single traveler declined one. It was like a sacrament. The traveler from Argentina, the mom from California, the lovely woman from Laredo— we were all covered with the same powdered sugar. And smiling. There is no better cookie.
Then the airline broke out free apple juice and two little girls from our flight ran around serving it and they were covered with powdered sugar too. And I noticed my new best friend— by now we were holding hands— had a potted plant poking out of her bag, some medicinal thing, with green furry leaves. Such an old country traveling tradition. Always carry a plant. Always stay rooted to somewhere.
And I looked around that gate of late and weary ones and thought, This is the world I want to live in. The shared world. Not a single person in that gate— once the crying of confusion stopped— seemed apprehensive about any other person. They took the cookies. I wanted to hug all those other women too.
This can still happen anywhere. Not everything is lost.

Monday, November 24, 2014

In the heavens I see your eyes. In your eyes, I see the heavens. Why look for another Moon? Or another Sun? What I see will always be enough for me.

~ Rumi

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Joni Mitchell Interview

Working with my hands gives me the opportunity to do something else with my mind while I'm working and while often I like silence, a good audio book, or long delicious conversation, this week I was also listening to music.  Predominently Joni Mitchell who I was introduced to in college by my roommate who played her albums and sang with them.  My way of experiencing music at that time was primitive. I would listen over and over again to an album taking it in like breath through the sounds of the music rather than the content of the lyrics.  I have strong auditory memories of her music, but not really what she was talking about.  I've been revisiting her melodies and lyrics lately, and experiencing them much more deeply and differently than I would have back then, because of time and life experience.  Some are incredibly sad, she seems so very exposed, poetic, and articulate in her sadness.  I found an interesting CBC interview of her that is quite long, but great.   Give it a listen when you have the time. I was so happy to have found it and had the intimate experience of knowing something real about her as a person and artist for the first time.