A Woman Defined

Art & Culture by Mahvash Mossaed

Life is a Garden

September 2, 2013

(From my unfinished writings, Life is a Garden)

The first step is to start weeding my garden.

Standing behind my kitchen window, biting hurriedly into my lunch, I look at the garden, and I think to myself, “Oh, my! The garden looks like a bad dream that you dream when you sleep on a full stomach. What a mess.”

The weeds are everywhere. They are all overgrown, like a woman’s legs that badly need to be shaved. The fig tree in the far corner of the garden is bent completely towards the ground; its fruits are ripe, but nobody has gone to the garden recently to see the tree and admire it in bloom. The tree is like a woman who made herself beautiful for her lover’s visit, but when the lover did not show up, she became old, weak, sad and bitter, and, overnight, completely crashed and broke down. Yes, the fig tree has been abandoned and unloved, and it has lost its appetite for life. Its fruits are spreading all over the floor. They are over ripe and sticking to the garden’s soil in the shape and color of unidentified objects. There are ants walking on them, and there are bees flying over them. They are surrounded by gnats, like a hue of gray, concentrated mist.

The jasmine plants hanging on the fence have given up. They are all dried up and look tired, like a woman still in her youth but already feeling old and unloved. Yes, the jasmines have forgotten how to smile, for no one from the house has visited them for such a long time. They are almost broken-hearted, and, in protest, refuse to bloom again. They are drying up and have made the choice that, at this point, they might as well die.

A brown bag has been traveling the garden so much, from one side to the other, in the wind and rain and sun, that it does not even look like a brown bag any more. The brown bag is confused and frustrated and wants to know what will become of her in the end. All the flowers that once, like young children, brought to their surroundings laughter and joy have long since died, and their roots refuse to rebirth in such a garden, where there is no trace of love and compassion. Frankly, I don’t blame them a bit. The garden screams at me and invites me out so it can tell me its sad tale. I listen to every word it utters and I cry for the garden. I cry for the garden because we understand each other well. I was once this garden, and I once asked myself, “Can the garden be saved? Can it be me who saves this garden?”

To start is always difficult: how do we do it and from what point do we start? Well, I have to be motivated. So let me start from being motivated. Let me start by creating a beautiful image of the garden that I wish to make for myself – my garden, my sanctuary, a place for me to get close to God, to my beginning, to my end, and to the soil itself. I need the garden to be saved for it’s as if one day, I woke up and realized I am a woman in need of a beautiful garden – a place where I can sit back on a straw chair, pour myself a tall glass of iced lemonade on a hot summer day, put my feet up, close my eyes, and in the silence of my head, be able to listen to the bugs chewing on the corner of a leaf. Yes, close my eyes and in the silence and peace of my head, feel the slightest movements of a lizard resting in the heat of the cement floor of the garden. I have to be in tune with the roots of the plants that, from their dark and damp place of hiding under the soil, ever so slowly breath and ever so slowly grow towards the light and the sun. I have to practice being in tune and one with the soil, being able to be in such harmony that I can feel the presence of God itself in the soil. I repeat and whisper to myself, as I am now silently sitting in the shade of the fig tree in my garden, “I embrace you, my garden, for you are a mother. I will embrace you, and you will embrace me, ever so lovingly, just like a mother does.”

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