Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Chapter XXI. The Canadian maple tree

One cold late fall morning (could’ve been middle December) , sometime in 2004, I left my house around 7:30 am to go to work. It was snowing that day, not a whole lot, but probably an inch or two have already accumulated on the ground. So I drove my very short drive, a 1.2 miles, from home to work. I parked my car in the employee parking lot, and walked out of the car. As I was slowly walking toward the entrance, I noticed a tree. It was a Canadian maple tree. It looked so beautiful, so colorful, and so big. I smiled at such tree, as I learned to remember the almighty God whenever I see his beautiful creation. I could see colors like red and orange, and many other fascinating colors. As I walked beside the tree, I stopped for few seconds to fascinate my eyes with such view. Then I walked toward the entrance and got to my disk.

Like many of us show off engineers, we spend 30 minutes in the morning sipping coffee and yack about last night’s sports events. I remember that it was a basketball game talk, which I’m not that into anyway. The reason I remember that, is because as I was waiting my turn to get to the coffee station, there were two ladies who were getting coffee. Typically, and out of courtesy, we would pour our coffee in the cup, and move over to the “sugar and cream” station, about 5 feet away on the bench. The two (they were HR “people”) poured their coffee, and simply took control of the coffee station and instead of moving over to the sugar/cream station, they started bringing sugar and cream to the coffee filling area. It was frustrating for me, and few other guys. Maybe because I had a negative encounter with one of the ladies in a previous day, I don’t know. And for those who would typically jump on me at this time screaming in my face “you are an anti-feminist”, I say, chill my friends, you’d need bigger material for your arguments against my views toward women. So finally, I managed to get my coffee and go back to my office.

It was about 8:10 am by now, and I started sipping coffee. Then suddenly, and as I was looking at my calendar to chick for today’s tasks, the vision of the tree popped in my head. This is December, and yet, there is a tree that has leaves on? I started asking myself. I quickly walked out toward the parking lot, and stood in front of the tree. I looked around at all the trees, and all had no leaves. But this one….still has leaves, and very colorful and beautiful. I just couldn’t believe it. There were lots of tree around our chemical plant, and all were without leaves. Something weird about this tree. I loved it beyond belief. It stood the test of harsh weather, and snow, and still held on to it’s leaves. That tree reminded me of patience, love, commitment, and withstanding the harsh nature. But the one important thing that popped real good in my head, was..simply, my home, Jordan.

I walked back to my office, and started thinking about Jordan. So much for a productive day at work, for whenever I get into this mode, I simply produce zero. And as usual, before those who are waiting to lynch me for any simple mistake I may commit, I need to remind them that I used to put between 55 and more hours every week, and even on weekends too. Yet, I only get paid for 40 hours since I’m a salaried employee, so again, chill my friends (yep, I am beginning to sound defensive a lot these days, thanks to the very few). So I spent the day reflecting on Jordan.

Somehow, I felt that the tree represented my home, Jordan, and it also reflected my sadness of homesickness that haunts me regularly. To me, this tree is Jordan, holding on to it’s people, beloved sons and daughters, for as long as it could. Or maybe those leaves are the people of Jordan holding on so tight to their mother tree, withstanding snow and rain, not wishing to let go. I feel it’s mutual love between the leaves and the mother tree. It tries to make them beautiful, so colorful. It spreads them out so each can get a share of sun and light. It cries whenever a leaf drops or flies away. It never let go, unless, the leaf simply decides to go away.

And the leaves, they make the mother tree so beautiful. They feed such beautiful tree. They protect it and they make it grow. They try as hard as possible to hold on. But when the time comes, and the leaves fall on the ground, and if you can look at the two, you probably would realize how sad this scenery is. Leaves under mother tree on the ground, refusing to go away, even when they were detached from home. A naked, and maybe ugly, tree, that is looking down for it’s leaves seeking an answer for what have happened.

I was born in Jordan and had to leave home and went to UAE when I was 7 years old. From that exact day, till today, I have been in Jordan for a total of less than 2 years. I am 37 years old now, and if you do the math, you’ll realize that I spent 24 days a year, on average, in my homeland. I never got to taste what homeland means. Sure I loved the UAE, and had my best years (11 years) there, but it wasn’t home. Sure I spent 19 years in the states, but still, I can’t feel that it’s home. But when I went back to Jordan in 1997, I felt of a pleasure I never felt before. I tasted what it looked like to be in a place that you call “home”. People like me (not as weird as me), and language like mine. Ethics closer to mine, and culture that is truly mine.

I sometimes wonder why can’t leaves stick to mother tree, and never depart. I’m sure life would taste different for both. Some may argue with me, and they have a valid argument, that the departure of leaves in realty, represents death, and the need of new generations to carry on and protect, love, and belong to the same mother tree that will always be there. I recognize that, and I do agree. But to me, and at that moment, the connection just happened, and regardless if it was a weak connection, but it was a one that made me feel good, and sad.

Every summer, and upon hearing the news of uncle so and so are coming from Saudi Arabia, or aunt so is coming from milano, every story like that, stirs anger and sadness in me. Every summer, when amman’s streets become congested by foreigners, and inhabitance alike, I start wondering as when my time will come and be a part of such gathering. Every time me and my wife go to greet someone who just came back from amman, I get into an argument with my wife for I never want to go. Yet, she wins the argument all the times (did I mention that my wife is from Nablus?). Every time I taste a pastry that just came from amman, I get into my pre-determined isolation mode. Why do I have to suffer?
I am a strong man, and went through many hardships, just like all men and women in the world. I do have a great control on the way I express my emotions. I cry a lot, but always internally, not allowing others to sense my tears. Call it male ego, or what have you, but every man knows what I’m talking about. Yet, I am yet to control the flow of tears upon hearing the words of God, or upon remembering home. No comparison between the two of course, for the words of God are far superior to any emotional effect of any other thing. I am dead serious, that I have a weakness of controlling my tears in those situations. Oh well, every man has a weakness, and to make myself feel better, I did see a man cries when he saw the movie “Philadelphia”.

So here I am, yet another summer passed, while I spend it in the good old US of A. Living a haunted summer where I have dreams of being in mecca street, by “abu jbaara” famous falafel stand. Or sitting on a chair in a coffee shop listening to great music, and the voices of happy, and angry, Jordanians discussing politics and how Italy should have won world cup this year. Or maybe walking by the busy street (forgot the name) where there is a small old mall, or shopping center composed of 4 floors, and by a famous shawarma restaurant. God I wish I can remember the name of that street. It’s sad when you can’t even remember common street names of home. Or the constant nightmare that I keep getting at least once every month, where I’m sitting down on my favorite spot in tabarboor, overlooking a couple of military camps, and on occasions, seeing shepherds with their sheep roaming the beautiful desert of Jordan. Oh well, they say no pain, no gain, and sometimes, the more painful it is, the more sweet it will be upon the long awaited meeting time.


Summer said...

Amjad, one day you will leave here and go back to jordan..this is my feeling.
If there are jobs in jordan that pay as much as you are making here in the states i think you will move back there in a heart beat..i think there is not much to make you stay here more than the financial security and comfort, but one day you might be able to have it all back home. good read, again!
(I do not mean to offend you , and i am sure it is only typos you have in the post, disk is a thing you call a CD, a floppy disk, a hard disk and so on, i am sure you meant DESK. also Chick means baby bird, or a woman in slang..i am sure you meant CHECK.)
Have a great day!

Bo3Bo3 said...

loooooooooooooool summer

yeah ur right, they were typos, and naa, I won't get offended, I know my dilemma with the language, and recognize it loool. Thanks for pointing that out loool.

glad ur enjoying my balogna :)

Anonymous said...

let us change places :P

nice written, i am really enjoying reading to the max. allah yraj3ak la bladak amjad ...