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Avocados and the Friday Prayer

Farewell and hello

Premise: There are many different meanings to words. We can choose which ones to use.
Writer's Keys: * = Word meaning and/or my interpretations.

A cactus speaks
صبره تتكلم Sabrah tatakallam:

It's quiet. It's been an early morning. Hardly any traffic; only a march of some kind on the airport road. I wonder what they are marching about?
Might it be Ajloun's deforestation?
I would like to believe it was. This crime was the last straw for this nature creature. If my government and leadership allow this to happen, then I have lost faith in all of them.

It's quite today, I can even hear the birds singing. It's Friday. Our Fridays are the Sundays and Saturdays of the other two. For me, Fridays are the Saturdays of Grand and Lakeshore - at least it feels that way today. But here, there is no Farmer's Market, not like the one over there .... No Pretzel Croissants, fine cheeses, and samples of fruit-in season, organic, and local (the magic three). They tell me there's a market of sorts here, but I doubt I can just wander about undisturbed, tasting fruits and enjoying the scenery.
It's simple things that I miss: Getting eggs from the woman who keeps the chicken, picking up a little basket of no-pesticide strawberries-imperfect in their shape and not too sweet, trying to figure out how ripe to pick my avocados to last a whole week ... Avocados: A forbidden fruit.
Because: They take too much water, they're planted in excess on the East Bank and are being exported to Europe; they are drying the river Jordan ... because there are people monopolizing land, getting all the profit, and tyrannizing the underdog .... Do you want to participate in that?
Oh but I yearn for an avocado ... sensual and so nutritious ... It looks like a belly pregnant with a seed. It tastes like butter. How easily it opens up, when it's ready. With a snip- a soft but quick stab, the seed comes out, like an egg. Bright green butter with a hint of yellow, on a bed of mixed greens, drizzled with some balsamic, olive oil, salt, and three strips of smoked salmon. Blue cheese to make it more decadent, some pecans, and possibly raisins or cranberry. And a glass of wine.
Local wine is good here. But we don't have pecans.

To Import or not to import, to grow here what grows here, or to grow things from abroad. To plant what we 'want' unaware of harming the ecosystem? Is it simply wrong to grow certain things in some places? Is the problem with the thing itself or is it a matter of excessive and unfriendly production practices? Is the problem with subsidization, greed, colonialism, occupation?
But it tastes so good.
Eat cactus.
They are tasty ... but how many of those can you have, and don't they give you constipation? What's their nutritional value- do they even have any?

I turn around and see the cacatus on the windowsill. It waves. There's a clan of them these cacti: Two adults, four teenagers, and four infants. They come from AlGhore Alshamali, near the Hjayajah(a tree that's 1,500 yrs old ... neglected, getting senile but gaining wisdom.) The clan has been sitting the sun, without soil, for over two weeks.
It did rain, so they got a few drops, but no soil. I need to plant them, now.

Pots with dried up soil await underneath the sill. There's probably left-over roots of something that once lived here. Maybe it was the beets?
I don't have tools up here, so I dig with my hands. I take a few roots out. Dirt gets under my fingers. I dig holes. I plant. Ouch.
The problem with cactus is the thorns (its shield). The big thorns are not the culprits, you can see those and avoid them. Even if you find one inside your skin, you can easily locate it and remove it. You can even use a big thorn as the spot to hold the cactus up with. It's helpful. The thorns you should really be aware of are the ones you can't see. Like the needle of a fairy, so soft and small, they jump into your fingers like a child jumps into bed, covering itself with a blanket (your skin). They cuddle in, slowly but surely going deeper. Eventually, the skin pushes them out, but not before stinging for a few days.

A gift of thorns.

As I plant, I become aware of a soft voice ... it comes from the mosque on top of the hill. It's the Imam. I am confused. It's jum3a prayer, and I am supposed to hear a man screaming and raising hell - this has been the case for some time. This one sounds different, he comes from somewhere else. His voice is tender, it makes me listen. His tone lulls me. I only catch the tail end of his prayers:
May God bestow his blessings on all people of the past and present, and the people of the future. May blesings descend on the poor and the ill, the orphans, the blessed-young and old. Blessed are the believers*.

* WM: Believer (Mu'min). Not associated with any religion, it's someone who has something he/she believes in, having a belief, a concept of higher self - i.e. god. A belief ... the the most important of which is perhaps in "oneself". Finding god within = Finding god without. Neither one can truly exist without the other.

He recites surat al-fatiha, and my heart hears it as if for the first time. I sit to write it here .... I don't want to use the academic references, they are archaic and removed .... I google Al Fatiha to find an interpretation by Kabir Helminski, that speaks to me.

"In the name of God, the infinitely Compassionate and Merciful. Praise be to God, Lord of all the worlds. The Compassionate, the Merciful. Ruler on the Day of Reckoning. You alone do we worship, and You alone do we ask for help. Guide us on the straight path**, the path of those who have received your grace; not the path of those who have brought down wrath, nor of those who wander astray. Amen."

** WM:
اهدنا الصراط المستقيم Ihdina alSirat alMustaqeem (Guide us on the right path).
Ihdina: Huda: Grant us, give us, lead us to, make us see (the light.) Hadiyah: gift. Hudu': calm, quiet, tranquil, peaceful.
Al-Siraat: the road, the path, what one reaches when they walk towards a point.
AlMustaqeem: a line, most direct, straight, correct. Mustaqeen - Qaam: stood up, rose up, Qiyamah: the day we are born again (day of judgement).

What is the right path?
"It is the straight clear line, without إعوجاج: deviation, crookedness, distortions, (like a curvy road) - ibn Kuthayr
"The way to Paradise" Ibn Abbas
"The pilgrimage" Al-Qurtubi
"It is a darkness, in which people seek, according to their own light" Anonymous, Muntada alTawheed.

It is past three. The day has not even started yet. I am yet to drink the zamzam. I suppose it starts with the intention ... انما الأعمال بالنيات Inama al a3maal bilnyyat.

The cactus interrupts me asking for water, to welcome it into new soil.

** Guide me, gently, to the path which brings me into the embrace of the light. Lead me to it by inspiration, open my eyes that I may see most clearly - the way, the path, my path ... البصر Albasar.


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