This was 10 years, 4 months, 18 days ago

it is late, or early, as in 3:16am late/early. suddenly a loudspeaker crackles, and then the muezzin calls out the adhan, prayers emanating from the minaret across the valley.

yesterday I wrote:
"it is everywhere. the sound bounces off of surfaces, valleys, buildings, and so all I hear is a cascade of prayers, layering over each other, allah becoming all-all-ah-all-ah-all-all-ah, reverberating and repeating. it is night, after all, but after morning, and I imagine people praying towards mecca, eating and starting their fast. reverberating sounds. it is wonderful, wonderful."

here I am, here I am, here I am. arabic entering my mouth through the eyes, rolling around on my tongue, syllables enunciated. salaam alaikum I say, and I nod, and this is what it's like, a landscape of nods, eye contacts.

two days ago I bumped into someone on the street, a pretty solid shoulder shove, and the guy was this burly dude, not a bro but more like a dude, like I-am-a-dude-who-owns-dumbbells-at-home-kind-of-dude. after I regained my balance I turned instantly to raise my hand in apology, and there he was with apologetic eyebrows and an instant sorry, asif, ana asif, and then we turned and continued, all with the rhythm of a town-that-grew-into-a-city, this is ramallah, and this is palestine.

today the two belgian dudes left from our guesthouse, J and L, to bike to Jerusalem. I had said goodbye to them earlier, but luck of lucks, as I was walking down the street I saw them biking, and I waved bye, yelled bye, and I had this image of both of them turning around waving, the bicycles wiggling a bit in the dusk, back light blinking, and I suddenly appreciated their spirit even more, this sort of focused energy, good-natured presence, wild positivity.

and there's another adhan! another one. ringing out. I will miss these I know, the way that they provide a backdrop, like a more reverent television in the background -- and I mean that in the best way, the most positive way. the way that it is nice to have someone's company while working, the way that the radio, when on, provides this nice stability, as if to prove that the world is still turning, still moving. the presence of a river continually flowing.

it's like this to me: somewhere out there, somewhere is praying to their god, waking up, praying, fasting, living life. but you see: this is a living thing, like a living breathing thing, and some people fast for ramadan and some people don't, some people cover their heads and some people wear tank tops, some people smoke, swear, some people do not. there is flexibility. this is a living country, after all. having come here and being here right now, I feel the elasticity and stretchiness that only a living place can have, the way that bread dough is elastic from the gluten and yeast, living microbes wriggling around and essentially making this all anew, anew.