Showing posts with label nostalgia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label nostalgia. Show all posts

Jun 1, 2021

traveling into the past through smell

Yesterday, I went on a hike on nearby hills lavishly covered by sagebrush, a familiar shrub with great memories of my childhood. In the Hazaragi vernacular, it's called butta; they are intensely aromatic and can be felt from a distance. Back in the village, we used to collect them every fall. Sagebrush is an arid-adapted shrub that grows in harsh habitats in the mountains, deserts, and steppes. 

When I was very young, I went with my mother to nearby hills and mountains to collect sagebrush. We burned them to cook our meals or heat our house in winter. I remember my mom used to wear a long colorful gown with velvet flowers, contrasting the pale greenish landscape. I often drifted away from her, following my passion, running after marmots, stalking them at their dens, or climbing  up on boulders and rocks until I heard my mom's worrying call, "where are you?" "Here, coming," I would respond. Then I followed her through the sagebrush; some were taller than me. Occasionally, she would need my assistance, mainly when her skirt was stuck in bushes, or she needed help removing thorns and thistles from her long beautiful dress decorated with delicate flowers. 

It was the first time to see sagebrush plants in this country. I was so excited as soon as I found myself among them. I walked off the trail to pace through a sea of sagebrush to feel them, to pick up the strong pleasant scent on my clothes while at the same time caressing the petals with my hands. As memories flew in, a powerful sense of being removed suddenly overwhelmed me. I found myself back in the village, on the mountains and hills that were so immensely familiar. I felt my mother's hands, the fragrance of the sagebrush on her hands, her clothes, and her homemade leather gloves that she used to wear when collecting shrubs, and on the way back, I used to carry them. I sat under a sagebrush and wept.

If the war and its horrible consequences hadn't happened, I would have been in the village, in that pristine and healthy ecosystem, having a normal and peaceful life, walking on hills and mountains with my mother. Yesterday, ambling through the sagebrush and picking up its fragrance was a revisit to my childhood, a moment that harked back to the good old days that will never repeat.

Feb 17, 2021

a time unlike now

I reminisce
that rotting wooden bench
on Louther street
next to the library and
across from the Lutheran Church
we used to sit
you always insisted
"let's tarry awhile"

a time
unlike now,
like ephemeral past
sends new nostalgic

Jan 21, 2014

Under the Frozen Tears of God

riding my bike in the snow
Today, I took my bike out to ride around the block for fun, slipped twice and fell off on the street, made people laugh and it was all entertaining and enjoyable.

riding my bike in the snow
It feels great to bike in a foot of snow, but be careful if you're going to do it, you need to lower the seat, just enough to control your balance. You also need to have mud or studded tires to prevent slide.

Heaps of snow is going to blanket the entire East Coast of the United States tonight. It has been snowing since Tuesday morning with a slightly frigid chill that is sweeping across the Northeast. Tomorrow, a bitter cold is expected to follow after the sky satiates itself from shedding its frozen tears on to earth.

Today, I was feeling nostalgic for those snowy days in the most far-flog village in the central Afghanistan. The snow storm of today reminded me the heavy snow fall - up to 3 and sometimes 4 feet snow - in my village. I recall the winters in which sometimes the slow and steady snow lasted five days. I recall the winter that as a result of a heavy snow a barn was collapsed in the village. In one morning, when I walked out of the house, my elder brother asked me to stand at the edge of snow wall, the snow was higher than my height. I was 11 years old.

The flat and little houses of villagers were enveloped with snow and roads were completely blocked. We used to spend almost three days removing the snow from the roofs, paths, barns and backyards. Then, the fourth day, the whole community were getting together for a mass clearing of the snow from long paths leading to other communities. For almost 3 months, the communities in the entire district were going into hibernation.

In this way, life was simple and warm. It was easy to believe anything that was told us and we never knew what the fact was and what fiction was. Everything was new and fascinating to us. Old mythical stories always amused and amazed us, especially, when we listened to some of them with absolute horror. The fairies, ghosts, and deads becoming alive, were the stories that bewitched our little souls and captivated our memories with imagery fears and attractions.

It is those days’ memories that cling to me, every once in a while. It is those endless reminiscences that fascinate every moment of my life, today. It is those stories, and nostalgia that wistfully hint a river of melancholy mood in me, in the dismal winter of Pennsylvania.