Monthly Archives: May 2009

During my jog today….

My feet pound the pavement, dogged step after step.  My breath is harsh and brittle in my lungs, each inhale tearing at the membranes of my throat. I round the corner. There, coming into view behind leafy bushes and a gently sloping hill, lays a cool glade; beckoning. I crest the slope, my thighs and calves begging for release. And there it is, jutting against the dusky sky, its soft petals open in supplication to a sun swiftly sinking. The ground beneath it is smooth, a whorl of perfectly executed circles. The smell of the Bradford pear’s clustered flowers permeates the air.

I lay myself down. I feel as though I’m floating, the delicate tips of the grass blades cradling my weary body. Each deep breath brings with it the smell of flowers, sweet and smooth. It pours into my abused throat, a cool drink of water to my burning lungs, soothing the hurt.

And then I begin sinking, so slowly at first I’m lulled into compliance. Each breath pushes my body further into the ground, my limbs weighed down and sinking quickly. The tips of the grass, no longer so delicate, prick my skin like fiery ants marching along the exposed skin of my wrists and hands. The grass seems to entwine upon my hands and arms, slowly snaking past my sneakers, enveloping me in a thousand pinpricks of fire, growing steadily over my weighted body.

Now dirt, against my clothes yet felt through to my skin, its moist warmth pressing insistently against me, as though by sheer pressure alone it could contain me, hold me. It sifts across my skin, the loose upper layer first, drawing the lines of palms and fingers in vivid brown. Then the cool, cloying press of mud, hidden under the warmer layers, packing around me in a firm, unbreakable mold.

I lay fully covered now, silent except for the swift sureness of my breath and heart. The smell of the flowers and sweet grass, the gentle of breeze playing across my face, the feeling of sinking into the ground are all gone. And then my breath, painful at first and then sweet nourishment, stops.

The air is filled with the solitary thud of my heart, the reverberating pounding shaking loose the layer of dirt that covers me and causing miniscule cracks in the mold. It disturbs the silence, its thuds, defiantly loud. A few beats more and then, silence. Peaceful at first and then deafening, the end signaled not by a jarring beep but rather a pressing silence, so forceful and unnatural my eardrums ache and burn.

I come to – seconds, minutes later – jerking my arms forcefully off the ground. They come up, flying gracelessly through the air to flop back down, fallen, broken bones.

I get up, brush the dirt and grass off my pants, and jog home, my feet falling in rhythm to the reassuring beat of my heart.

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Filed under Personal, Reflections

Struggle

Have you ever struggled with obligation? Or, no, maybe that isn’t the right word. Because it isn’t obligation so much as something you just know you should be doing. But the problem is that, no matter how deep you dig, you can’t dredge up the strength to actually go through with it. 

And one of the reasons you struggle so much is because you know the things that are holding you back are pathetic. Petty, actually. To admit to them, to put words to the murky thoughts that hold you back would be peeling back the self-protective, rose-colored layers that constantly protect us from seeing those dark corners of our own souls. It would be tantamount to admitting to being spineless, controlled by your circumstances and the people around you. 

But, even knowing this, you can’t find that strength. Yet you look around you and see others who make their decisions and hold their heads high, at peace with the path they’ve chosen. And the words “why not me?” echo in your head, the answers presented readily in the form of all your insecurities, your indecisiveness.

Nothing worth having comes easy.

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Filed under Personal

The things we eat and drink…

For all you Red Bull drinkin’, Tim Hortons’ chili eatin’ people: listen up!!

Puttin’ the Coke in Coca Cola:

(The Canadian Press) BERLIN – Six German states have told retailers to stop selling Red Bull Cola energy drinks after a test found a trace amount of cocaine.

The bans started Friday after a sample test conducted by authorities in North Rhine-Westphalia state found 0.4 micrograms per litre in the drink.

Five other states also banned it from shops amid concerns over possible narcotics law violations.

Germany’s Federal Institute for Risk Assessment said Monday that the cocaine level was too low to pose a health risk. It planned to produce a more detailed report Wednesday.

Red Bull said its cola is “harmless and marketable in both the U.S. and Europe.” It said similar coca leaf extracts are used worldwide as flavouring, and a test it commissioned itself found no cocaine traces.

Notso Chillin Chili:

CALGARY (CBC) – A Calgary man who claims he crunched down on an insect while eating Tim Hortons chili says he is looking for an apology from the company.


“Things were going good until I heard a crunch sound in my mouth. And then I kind of gave it a chew again. But I thought that something was not right, and so I kind of spit the food back out. I looked down at it and I thought that I was seeing an insect, maybe I was just seeing things, but immediately I scrambled to the washroom and spit everything back out. I rinsed my mouth out,” Lee told CBC News on Tuesday.

He snapped photos and contacted Tim Hortons, which put him in touch with a regional manager.

Gross!!

On the topic of food and what it contains, it turns out the gum I’ve been buying ever since I got back – Trident Splash – has gelatin in it. =( So saddd I am. That’s one of the things I have to get used to again… checking the ingredients. No more Skittles for me!!! 

*sniff*

Which reminds me.. anyone know what the Kosher sign is?? Cause I’m down for that =D

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Filed under Canada, Food, News

Books to Read

My library holds finally came today!!! 

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger – recommended by Armani – and Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand – recommended by D!! Verrrry large books. I can’t wait to start, but I have to get through the Memory Keeper’s Daughter first. This is the first time it’s ever taken me more than a day to read a book. Usually I don’t put it down until the last page has been turned, come hell or high water. But this sinus infection is really getting to me. My poor, burning eyeeess!! 

But anyway, as I was walking by the YA section this kinda caught my eye:

Does My Head Look Big In This?

yay!

It feels goooooodd to read.

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Filed under Books, Canada

Memory activation through auditory association

So so far readjusting to life in Calgary has been smooth sailing. I just kind of picked up where I left off. Kind of too busy cramming three years worth of to-dos into one summer to really enjoy being back, but happy alhamdulillah. And if, every once in a while, I feel a little tug of nostalgia, I assuage it with either the amazing, fresh taste of a Subway sandwich, or a walk to the library.

But right this second my dad has Um Kalthoom playing, and the sun is shining, and if I were in Syria, listening to Um Kalthoom, I’d probably be in those cafes in Old Damascus, soaking it in.

Could it be? I actually miss Syria?? I thought it’d take at least 10 years for all the adverse effects to wear off enough so I’d be able to think of Syria without my gag reflex kicking in…

But I guess we’re always surprising ourselves, eh?

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Filed under Canada, Only in Syria, Syria

As American as apple pie…

As American as apple pie and as Canadian as possible under the circumstances.
-Heather Scott

While I was in Syria, a few of my American friends would ask me to say ‘about.’ And then when I would and they’d say “no, not that way. say it like you say it!”

Since I’m generally an unperceptive person at heart, I had no idea what they were talking about. And then I remember reading this book where this Canadian guy is made fun of because he says ‘aboot.’ I’m like a-what now??  As I Canadian, not born but definitely raised, I think I’d know whether we say about or aboot! And we definitely don’t. Say aboot that is.

And now? Well I’ve been back for nine days and all I hear is aboot and oot. And it goes without saying that it’s very, very strange. Hearing an accent in your own country? Your home and native land?? Not so comfortable. It really makes those three years stand out. Or should I say oot??

-confusedly yours
S&S

ps: special shout oot to  my Mum: if I loved you any less, I’d say absence makes the heart grow fonder. But I love you so much, it’s just not possible. I miss you crazy, and I love you more. xoxo to you, MiniMe, and Will.I.Am. <3333

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Filed under Canada, Personal, Syria

Death and all his friends

If you’ve ever had a near death experience, then you know what I’m talking about without me having to explain anything. First you’re scared, shocked, naustated, hopeless. You’re praying desperately for one last day, one last chance to set things right. All you hear is a litany of ‘if onlys.’

But after the shock wears off, the world is… brighter. So beautiful and breathtaking it hurts. You can’t seem to get enough of the simple things: breathing, the reassuring pounding of your heartbeat, the feel of your hair on your shoulders, the delicacy of your wrists and fingers. Life becomes a series of crystalized moments as you strive to retain each one in all its perfection: touch, taste, smell, sight, sound, and emotions. 

But that is nothing – absolutely nothing – next to the terror of seeing the life of someone you love about to end. Holding their hand while you watch them battle to overcome something you can’t possibly, in your health, comprehend. The helplessness. The desperation. The fear in their eyes. Ya Allah.

There’s a reason they say in the face of death we find God. The absolute inevitability of it, the sheer helplessness we feel; there’s only the One you can turn to. 

So thank You God. It’s been five days. And each day I can’t possibly thank You enough for saving this life. For giving me that one more day to see their smile and to hear their voice. Thank You. This moment is beyond beautiful – it’s perfect. And inshAllah, every moment You give us together will be spent putting those ‘if onlys’ to rest and thanking You. 

Alhamdulillah.

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Filed under Personal, Reflections