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Yemeni Journey

We Walk

 

I dreamt of fire and snow, and woke up to wind.

The wind has been blowing all day, mash’Allaah, whipping frenzied treetops into wild shapes, majestic and sometimes grotesque against a steel grey sky. Cold, but not the indifferent cold of sun and snow; rather, the cold of red-cheeked life that makes blood sing and course joyfully through limbs warmed by movement. A day, maybe, for some to stay inside, thankful for the warmth of fire and furnace. For me, a day to walk.

I walk almost every day, no matter the color of the sky, the temperature of the air, or the precipitation or lack thereof. I walk in the morning to breathe in the welcoming rays of the new sun whenever possible, but most often I walk just before sunset, bathing in the pinks, purples, blues and oranges of the almost evening sky.

Sometimes I walk alone, but more often than not someone walks with me, helping me to see what otherwise I may have missed. The bones of a young deer scattered here, there, and even farther, under those leaves over there. The perfect place for a fort made out of earthbags. The white cow grazing across the way that never fails to raise its head and stare at us – Sukhailah says in curiosity, Hudhaifah claims in malevolence. In return, I show them what I see and hear and feel that otherwise they may miss. The mullein, still a startlingly bright green on the forest floor. The track of a large cat, churned up almost past recognition. The ugly scarring of logging trucks and the tops of trees tossed carelessly aside to become shelter for woodland beings. The ladder steps nailed into the side of a tree at the edge of the forest, leading to something that no longer exists.

I stop frequently and tell them to be still, to look and listen, hoping they see and hear with their hearts as well as their eyes and ears. We hear the wind, and I know that this wind has blown for thousands of years, its voice changing with time just as ours do, shaped by the features it passes over and through. We see the clouds parting in the sky in layers, angel driven and swift, offering moments of ice crystal clarity as well as foggy obscurity, mirroring our own steps, where sometimes the road seems oh so clear, while at others we are feeling our way, knowing only what we want at the journey’s end and trusting in Allaah to guide us there. We feel the sharp bite of driving rain on our wind-chapped faces, and taste the gentle sweetness of snowflakes on the tips of our tongues. Hardship, and ease. Hardship and ease.

We walk, and we rejoice in the sun while it lasts, and revel in the wild night as it rises up from the surrounding hills. We walk, and we live in each moment. We walk, and truly, we live.

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2 comments

Michelle on February 2, 2015 3:43 am Reply

Beautiful post! Sometimes I see you out there enjoying your walk while I’m grumpy for having to be out in the cold. It changes my attitude.

Khadijah on February 2, 2015 2:14 pm Reply

I was thinking about you the other day – if you ever want to come along, you’re welcome to!
I’m odd, I really love the cold, mash’Allaah.