Essays and Compositions
I do not write professionally. I write because my soul has a voice that needs to be heard and this is the way it expresses itself to the world. Sometimes my desire to express goes beyond my comprehension of the English language or grammar; but it does not matter as long as my voice is heard. Below are some of my writings in the form of essays and excerpts of stories that have been published or unpublished, finished and those that I may never finish.
IN SEARCH OF SUNDAY
As the sun departed, the skies gave birth to a moon so lovely it would have made Aphrodite cry. A night so clear, so still, so beautiful. The coolness of the evening gave me comfort and laid on my skin like an old friendly coat. One could smell the freshness of the night jasmine clinging from the balcony, seducing the basil and rosemary plants, taunting and teasing as only jasmine can do.
I sat outside in our courtyard and watched the stars dance and sing across the sky. It was the kind of night that would inspire artists, poets, and writers to create the divine. It was the kind of night that would inspire fools to be foolish and lovers to be fruitful. Oh, what a beautiful sky; Oh, how lucky was I to sit under this lovely sky.
A salty tear streamed down my cheeks. A tear with traces of contentment and a cupful of regret wet my cheeks while an image of my deceased mother sailed across my mind. She would have loved to share this moment, this sky with me. I had to quickly remind myself that her body may be gone, but I can still feel her essence hanging to my lashes everyday when I open my eyes. She will accompany me on this journey. Together we will find Sunday.
Yes, this was the kind of sky the made even the toughest of men weep and reflect. I collected my thoughts and began to ponder my adventure.
I am - as a reminder to myself - in search of Sunday. Not just any Sunday. I am in search of the Sunday that compels people to go to church – the Sunday that inspire people to visit family – the Sunday that encourages people to go on picnics. I am in search of the Sundays I had when I was young, relaxing and carefree. The Sunday I search for is not a day of the week. My Sunday is nothing anyone can touch but everyone can feel. It is the reflection of water lilies on a pond after a gentle rain. It is the golden leaves of Autumn cascading to the ground. Sunday, the one I search for, is the faint whisper of dragonfly wings as the small damsel settles on a leaf. This Sunday is sweet like the silent drop of nectar clinging to the edge of a limb of an apricot tree. This is the Sunday I will journey to find.
I unclothed myself of the night and retired to my basement. I packed my backpack full of the many tools one needs when they go on a treasure hunt; compass, binoculars, pencils, sketchbook, and desires. I placed a photograph of the many special people I have met in my life in an envelope and placed the envelope in the front pocket. This will serve me as inspiration to continue my journey. And I packed hundreds of words knowing that I would surely run out and need to search for more. Tomorrow when the sun rises, so shall I, and my journey to find Sunday will begin.
Follow me. Lay your trust on the sound of my voice. We are both on the same journey; walking the same roads; searching the same answers. Know that my fate will never determine yours. You have yours to find, I have mine to seek. But trust and follow me.
A GATHERING OF FLOWERS
And the Jasmine said, "I am pale, brittle, and small but my perfume can be admired for miles." The Rose exclaimed how she was bright and pink and that she too had perfume that is adored by many. The Dandelion proclaimed, "Sisters, I may be a weed. I may not have a perfume. But I am proud weed. I am a beautiful weed." The orchid watched the whole exchange sitting in her perch on the lovely oak tree. She laid back and exhaled. She just knew. She didn't need to express it.
I was a young dreamer once. I dreamt that certain books were written by angels and could only be read when it rained. Raindrops held words and messages that only the pure-hearted could read. This dream and the soul-quenching search for these drops of water consumed my existence for years.
I was eight. When it would rain, I would sit on our backdoor steps and try to catch the raindrops quickly enough so that I would be able to read the words before the drops would evaporate. For months I chased the clouds. Again and again, I would sit on the steps, catch the drops and my lips would curl with disappointment. No words, no message.
I was ten. On a cool spring night, I dreamt of an unknown figure confronting me as I walked through a mysterious forest. In the dream, fear wrinkled my forehead and the brown of my skin drowned in the desperation of that fear. But before the last gasp of air woke me, this dreamland persona told me I needed to believe there were pages in each of the raindrops. Only if I truly believe would I be able to read them. What did it mean? I needed to know.
I was thirteen. After a few cloudless days and nights, the skies filled with cumulus clouds and the drops began to silk through the air towards the earth. I sat in place and waited. I finally saw the drop. A heavy engorged drop full of brilliance. I thought it must be filled with hundreds of words. I held my finger out and let it cascade down, and, like a pendant, hang from the bottom of my finger. I focused on it and I was able to see through the lightness and thin layer of the water. I squinted and saw something reflected in the droplet but it was just a reflection of the trees and flowers that surrounded me. Where were the words, where was the message. I cried. I couldn’t understand the simplicity and complexity of what this dream or my actions meant. As a tear fell, it collected on the edge of my eyeglasses. The reflection of light on the teardrop caught my attention. I looked through this tear and I could see a distorted reflection-something familiar but indistinguishable. I squinted and stared intensely. Faintly, indistinctably, but with soul-filled impact, I could see my own reflection. For some reason, this gave me great satisfaction. I wiped my tears and went back inside the house.
I was sixteen. As I matured, I realized I would never really have been able to see a reflection on a teardrop. I never would have found words in raindrops. I didn’t even know what it all meant. But none of that really matter. Chasing raindrops helped me learn about facing challenges and dealing with disappointment. And I learned a lot more about chasing dreams.
Although life has scarred my eyes and age has softened my soul, when the clouds begin to unload, I always stop for a second and stare at the sky. Yes, I still seek to read the raindrop. This aspiration inspires and fuels my journey.
THE CLOUDS OF SANTA MARIA
Tenderly falls the light over the rooftops. Terracotta tiles fading under the blurry shadows cast by the clouds. From the field of sunflowers to the sea's edge, a dark, broody scene emerges. Trees whispering to each secrets that only forest dwellers can hear become silent. The winds sweep down the valley bellowing deeper and louder as the clouds inform that a storm is inevitable. Suddenly, a perfectly clear drop of water loosens its grip on the atmosphere and begins to descend to the earth below. Then another drop freely falls. Then another one and another one and another one. The clouds of Santa Maria have begun to cry. There is nothing remedial that can be offered. I just sit under the canopy of an elm tree and enjoy the waterfall until the late afternoon.
A LETTER OF REMEMBRANCE
I stood in front of the messenger and I wept. The air was bitter and it burned my throat as I swallowed the news. You were gone and my world would never be the same again. My colorful dreams of adoring you and being near you slowly faded into black and white collages of memories.
It's been many years since a dreadful disease came into our home and carried you away. But I still remember you, weak as a wounded bird, cradling your soul in your arms, kneeling and praying for your salvation and asking for our protection. On your trembling lips, I could see the drops of guilt left behind by every angry word you shouted. Every tear that ran down your face fell to the ground and stained the clay beneath your knees.
Unselfishly, as you were dying, you were still concerned for our welfare. Even when your body had betrayed you, when the only thing you could move were your eyelids, there was still a trace of compassion burning in your eyes. You nourished us with those looks of compassion.
In a world, in a life, in a home where hope was scarce and nearly extinct, you had faith that the love and respect you had brought into our world in your healthy days would burn bright once you were gone. And in your dying days, we learned about caring, humanity, and the truths about eternity.
Most of all, I remember your love. Unconditional, unmeasurable, and full of the thousands of joys of motherhood. I still remember that love even as it fades.
Last night I stepped out of my home, my castle, my shelter and I glanced towards the winter sky. There she was larger than anything I could ever have found; brighter than anything I could ever have lost. She flowed through an indigo heaven like a frozen bubble floating in the northern sea.
I called her Luna when I was young. She has been with me a lifetime. I know less of her today than I did when I was young. But, because of her, I know so much more of me.
I stared at her hypnotically. I was spellbound, captivated, under a trance. Under her spell, I saw the midnight hawk swoop through the air. Its wings like lace filtering the light in the air and creating shadows of moisture that my eyes could not interpret. I watched this majestic bird dance with Luna. Two different rhythms, two different cycles with one common goal, beauty and inspiration.
All my life I have followed her light. I followed her wisdom. Her reflection is always in my eyes when I look towards her in search of answers. I seek her for guidance and feel liberated showered in her radiance. I took a breath and thanked her for revelation.
FLOWERS AND A WINDOW BOX
As I walked through the village I spotted a window box bursting with colorful flowers. They stood there in the bright sunlight watching me watching them. I was their admirer and they were not shy to the proving eyes of this voyeur.
To see these flowers in the window box was to be drawn to a world of naturedness. Because of their diverse colors, I referenced the world through their petals; the blues of Greece, the oranges of Spain, the greens of Ireland. They created in me a sense of urgent beauty. I wanted to touch them, draw them, and paint them.
Their stems were rigid and their petals were soft and feathery. It was as though they were cared for by the skillful and loving hands of a master botanist. Some of the flowers were symmetrical and others seem to be assembled like a collage with speckled bits and pieces.
I wanted to take a closer look, but being in close proximity to this much beauty made me nervous. As a strong wind blew, my lovelies danced in jubilation. The sun glistened through the petals and showcased their near transparency. There was a scream of joyfulness in the air as the flowers waved in the tumbled morning. I smiled and curled my lips as if I were talking with them.
Such beauty, happiness, and joy in such a small living container. At that moment I realized....I want to be a flower when I grow up.
The air was salty along the road to the seashore. I had walked for several miles but it seemed like only baby steps. Time sat on the wings of the seabirds that flew above my head - one minute, one hour , half a day. I couldn't remember how long I had been walking, but, I do remember I left on the third minute after the last teardrop fainted.
With every breathe, I felt melancholy coat my throat; a bittersweet taste I found hard to swallow. The trees that surrounded the path held my thoughts as the sealed letter in my hand held my emotions. I wondered if the words clenched in my hands were now nothing but faded ink upon a yellowed piece of paper.
The exact time I reached the water is unknown to me because my focus was this letter I carried. I sat on the sand and watched the waves for a few seconds while I gathered my courage. The heavy clouds crawled across the sky ever so slowly and with grace. I looked around and saw no one to witness the unveiling of emotions. I broke the seal of the envelope that cocooned all these words I desperately wanted to read. I pulled out a sweetly antiqued paper that was twice-folded. I looked away at the sun bleached wings of the seagulls that soared above the sea before I unfolded the paper and began to read the letter.
Dear Baby Boy,
I love you. Don't ever forget this even after I am gone.
I refolded the letter, put it back in the envelope, and resealed it. The smile on my face wrinkled my cheeks and brought comfort to my anxious heart. I glanced at the letter again and recognized the words that I had first read many years ago. They could have been written with pine needles in the sand - it did not matter. I knew these words by memory but I needed to read them again. Softly, I sat listening to the music of the breeze and waited for the sun to set. When the last golden rays of sunlight melted into the horizon, I walked back in the woods and blended among the trees.....sealed envelope in hand.