Friday, September 10, 2010
One Week Later
I've been in Fes for a little over a week now and Ramadan has just ended. Today is the second day of the holiday that follows. People are no longer fasting and are dressing in their finery to visit friends and relatives in their homes. Everyone is making nice with everyone else, the shops are closed and there is a lot of congratulating going on. And well deserved congratulations I might add. From the little I saw of Ramadan this year, I could tell it took a lot of stamina to adhere to the fasting during the hot summer days. I am told it reached 125 degrees on the first day of Ramadan this year. And next year will be even more difficult. Many people are visibility thinner than the time I last saw them and are aglow with the triumph of adhering to their fast in a challenging situation and are basking in their successful practice of one of the five pilars of Islam.
How different this world is from the one I just came from. Not just the traditional month of fasting but from the very air itself. And by that I mean the mood, the energy level and the quality of the atmosphere in which people live. How interesting to witness a people pursuing a common goal and how they support one another spiritually and physically. In my own country, we are all such individuals with an endless variety of ways in which we approach life. Here, it's all for one and one for all when it comes to religious practices and family traditions. I like aspects of both views and that sometimes leaves me wondering where I fit into things.
One of the first things that I noticed when I returned to the medina was the smells. In the heat of summer things are more pungent than usual and the chickens and butcheries are redolent with a powerful organic odor. I also noticed how dusty everything was from the months of months of heat and the lack of greenery and moisture to help clean the air. And then night turns into day and day turns into night during a summer Ramadan as breakfast doesn't begin until 7pm at night and life picks up the pace from sundown to sunup.
The presence of everyday life is so apparent here and so unlike the overly manicured gardens and housefronts I walked past in Pacific Heights in San Francisco. I feel like Goldilocks as I absorb the contrasts; "this one's too overpowering and this one's too sterile." Again I wonder what I want and where the middle ground can be found. Does it even exist?
Yet here I am, taking it all in and training myself not to judge anything. Just observe and note the differences. It's really difficult to hold back the voices that want to proclaim this one superior to that one. I have to remind myself again and again that my own peace of mind comes from keeping judgements at bay and staying open to experiences.
Posted by Water Dragon at 1:51 AM