Two thousand seasons of rainWhen incense weeps [Archives:2005/833/Culture]

April 14 2005

By Irena Knehtl
For the Yemen Times

Now they had dreams, about spring, rains, pride, and dignity. About tomorrow. The summers in Sana'a are dusty. The waters without a ripple and the skies a luminous blue. Here the storytellers know thousand of tales about the skies that were azure. However, this is before the hills became alive again and danced like a man.

They met only once. There would be one thing to remember that their eyes met for a moment before she could lower hers. At the end, he offered her his hand. She looked at it first. A nicely shaped, full hand, before she put hers in it. His eyes, half closed, were telling her, he felt pleasant. He hastened to fill the silence. She thought him handsome as a Sabaean king. She could not recall their names now, except for Jada. She decided it would be Jada.

After, they were separated.

She knew he worked now in a place in the north. She remembered it as walled with mud wall, and mud skyscrapers decorated in white. Sometimes at news when she was his face, she thought he smiled only for her. He no longer wore the uniform, from which he shone. Nevertheless, gray suit, white shirt, and a strapped tie, which in a brown environment stood out.

That he will come.

That he will search for her.

That he will find her

That she will wait for him.

The winds and clouds, their voices now a rolling thunder. Between lush hills and fertile plains. Where flowers bloomed ten months every year. In addition, two thousand years passed like seasons. The monsoon rain turned earth every spring into painting. Not the spring rains, but the scent of roses brought them joy. In a while, the rain slowed to a drizzle, and then stopped. The breeze shook off water from the trees. After, the trees were green, and sky blue.

She was a lush, beautiful woman with huge eyes, who wore a sudden smile. Her long black hair hung loose down her back, plaited only at the back. Even as a child, she was different. She was too full of life and laughter. She could read and write like a boy. Moreover, she longed to fly to the great outside world of mysterious sorrow and happiness. Why did she think, she alone could escape the sorrow? The dust made her cough. A narrow street lined with shops. A full moon in the end began to wane. It was almost dawn. The scent of orange trees in the gardens and rare perfumes. The cool sweetness of rose garden. Faint scent of spices and sun backed city. The perfumed air.

It has begun. The spirit of the Old city, suddenly impossibly old, hovered high above, in the air, from where it jabbered useless warning. It talked about the Sabaean palace Ghamdan that reached the sky. In her thoughts, she reached the palace top. From there she used to call him. In return, the north wind would bring her scent of grapes, raisins, incense and blossoms in May. She smelled incense.

There above the sky, on the blue floor, they danced.

There, they could not be separated.

With an ancient instinct, she looked for his face everywhere. She could better imagine local government, revolution, democracy and Arab unity. She thought they had his face. As those mountains, being free. When she prayed, she whispered to the Most High about raisins that are sad. About almonds that weep. About happiness as glass beads, about hearts that are swollen. About stars that do not whisper. About apricot trees that are barren. About voices that tremble. About eyes that are tired. About spring that is winter.

There was chaos before the beginning. All sounds but none heard. All shapes but none seen. Therefore, with men, the bonds of love and affections soon changed to a land of sorrow and care. The sun setting with no road ahead.

The Arab street is no longer silent. It demands lauder and lauder the Arab unity. Ouroba, unity, shouted the loud voice from the radio. Ouroba. Arab unity called the voices of demonstrators from the streets. There was greatness in their powerless nothingness. Greatness in their giving and sharing.

Ouroba, unity, they were calling now lauder and lauder.

Your blood is my blood! We have the same ancestors.

Our suffering is the same. You, too, walk the world as out of your mind!

Ouroba, unity, they sung.

Brother! From the lowlands to the mountains!

We are awakening! We realized we were slaves! Now we are reborn again!

Ouroba, Arab unity, the chanted. Intifada, Palestine, AlQuds, Jerusalem. Iraq.

Oh, the world is wide enough!

That a free man would put up with humiliation and hatred!

A thousand sorrows filled every inch of their sensitive being. There was nothing to forgive now. Nothing more to wait for. Beginning of spring! The Arab street is demonstrating because of occupations in Iraq and the treatment of Palestinians. The Arab street is no longer silent. It is dreams they have! Dreams about spring, rains, dignity, pride. About tomorrow! Perhaps the world has changed. Perhaps, we shall all be free! However, the moon is never round for long and our time spent. Nevertheless, the dreams we had must die in order to live anew. Only in the azure sky, there is the moon beyond the clouds. But for fears, there is a painful journey ahead. Regretting the spring has so soon passed.

Late summer. In the absence of words and emptiness in eyes. The changing expression in eyes and feeling of air touching her checks were as if there had been leaves underfoot. Anxiously watching the road for a return. She had long had it in mind. So dim, so dark. Should we meet again, let us not journey to the same beginning?

Then he did not come.

Did not search for her.

Did not find her.

She might never see him again.

What have they done to him?