Saturday, October 06, 2007

Thanksgiving

Warning as we start this post: schmoopiness ensues in the following lines, and if you're a reader who can't handle sop and a bit of cheese (what are you doing on this blog exactly?? I've always been sentimental) then I would recommend proceeding - or not - with caution.
So, in the spirit of Thanksgiving (for you Americans, Canada's Thanksgiving is the first weekend in October, not in November), here's a random list in no particular order of importance of things for which I am thankful:
  • A long weekend. Being able to get up late and wander down to see my beautiful mother reading Quran in the black chair at the far end of the family room; having snippets of the random conversation we've become so good at - pieces of meaning distributed and distilled between laughter and anecdotes, interspersed with inside jokes, dotted with queries of concern (Me: how's your back today? Any better? Her: Have you slept enough? Eaten enough?)
  • Walks with my sister. Both the power-walks of the someone-else-is-watching-the-little-angels variety, and the slow motion walks where my nephew is strapped into the stroller, eyes roving, the sky visible through his plastic sunroof, and my niece is ambling - dawdling really - beside us, so slow we stop walking and start strolling, walks where my back is perpetually bent at an odd angle so she can grasp three of my fingers in her tiny hand; that hand, held fast against mine, letting go to run ahead and discover, hold gravel, hold dirt, hold wild flowers and grass, small enough that the world spills through the cracks between her fingers, off her palm. On those walks, the contents of her hand are her world, and she is my world.
  • The joy of opening my inbox to find a message from M in a secret language, decoding only in my head and inventing new terminology, a secret etymology no language professor will ever teach, no scholar will ever translate.
  • Riding in the car with my father, an easy silence around the grip of the steering wheel, in his furrowed brow as he directs us home or away, here or there, a stop at Timmy's in the back of his mind and always at the next exit. He is our Captain because of the way we fall asleep and the car keeps moving, the way we wake back up and have our best conversations in that car and our best silences and still the car keeps moving, the way he pushes us, gently, to do, to act, to push the world a little bit forward ourselves in the same smooth way he pushes the car with all its passengers to our next destination. My father is not the passenger not because he cannot let others lead, but because he understands the burdens - as opposed to the privileges - of leadership.
  • Reading the story of Prophet Yusuf in the Quran, and feeling that lump in my throat at the end when he embodies forgiveness, when he succeeds, when he sees love in his brothers and they feel it for him and imagining having all that to hold over someone and wondering if I would ever be able to forgive. and hoping I would. and praying I would.
  • The thought of a poem, or a line of a poem, or a line of beautiful wording, unprompted, popping into my head and staying there long enough that I am able to write it down, that I have not lost it.
  • All the cleverness, all the emotion, all the "aha!"-ness of a good book on a long afternoon in a coffee shop with comfortable chairs. Reading with a sense of both urgency and lightness. Having all afternoon.
  • Grace. Not my own, because I do not yet think I have it, but finding it in others at unexpected moments, and being inspired by it.

5 comments:

Nariman said...

Interesting! You have just made me think about alot of old memories ... or my family in Egypt :)

Jen said...

lovely sweetie... thank you for a nice beginning to my morning...

noha said...

glad you liked it ladies :D

Sajda said...

Noha, this was beautiful, masha'Allah. I especially loved the description of the walks and your "captain". I hope you're working on that book of yours!
(if you're saying book? what book?, I'll just say "the book you HAVE to write, silly.")

noha said...

JAK Sajda!
Nothing like a "good work" from a fellow writer to encourage me... To be honest, I do feel more "fluid" with my words lately, which is a good sign, but book is just so Big and Unmanageable, so I'm biting off chewable bites for now.