Thursday, March 5, 2015

to the land far-and-away

I will finish wrapping up a study I have particpating in, inshaAllah, and then I will leave Oman for a while. I will visit my home country, that land far and away. I don't plan to stay. I plan to finish a story of mine there, one I never intended to write, but ultimately must I suppose, and then I hope to return here. That is my plan inshaAllah.

Oman was never supposed to be part of my story, I never intended to stay here, so I don't suppose to make fixed plans anymore.
I had planned to go back to the land far and away maybe next year, not this one. I will miss Oman when I am gone, and my children. I am not going back to show my husband my memories, or to eat actual criossants, or to see fabulous architecture and spectacular nature (and rollarblade, ha ha, without any losers trying to hit on me for that). I am not going back to shop for antiques, or used books, or honey, or to take photos of anything. How strange it is, then, for me to have to go. Seems unreal, and like something detached from myself, these preperations to go.
I remember it, the land-far-and-away. Its sweeping mists that soak my bones and freeze my blood... The glass of the hearth stove I am trying to be as close as possible to but not touch... The scent of cedar smoke rising. Chopped pine, cedar, scents from back home, just another brand of frankinsence.
I love the scent of starting the morning fire in the-land-far-and-away. Waking up early to guard the dying embers from the evening blaze all but gone out. The dare of bringing the basket of kindling in against the cold, maybe disturbing racoons or a bear near the wood drying stacks. Wild things, who attempt to open the garbage bins, and I, but armed with a broom to try to scare them away.
In Oman, it is only bin cats and goats I have to worry about near the garbage, which are not much a worry at all. And the scent of starting the fire here is usually gasoline poison smoke, or too much paper, for wood is scarce, and the world is hot enough most of the time, except in the night, in the desert, or high in the mountains.
I remember pressing my toes as close as possible to the warm glass of the woodstove in the morning, burning them sometimes. Above, there were stars still in the sky, visible from the skylight. Out the door, apple blossoms in the orchard, bumble bees, and hummingbirds, and a sea of green grass. Down, is the little dark stream edged with ferns where deer tread softly, which Omanis would call a river, but to me was a ditch.
Up, the hills, blue with evergreen, or sometimes, clouds of mist curling, and only the bare shadow of the memory of trees.
Sometimes I would sit here, on my stomache, a warm cup of cocoa or tea in my hands, talking with my father, before anyone else in the world seemed to wake.
That is the most poignant memory for me, of the land far-and-away. Funny, the things one remembers.
I swear, I never felt my feet at all until I set down in Muscat International Airport, and came to a land, where the cold water tap in the shower and the metal of my own seatbelt buckle could burn me. I laugh at that now, so far away from the icy dark ocean with its sharp waves bashing black jutting rocks, where I used to swim for hours. My father says people could succumb to hypothermia in thirty minutes there, but I never did.
I think I'd die now though, if I just tried to wade more than my knees into that water, thick with its tangle of green kelp and bitter cold. I wear sweaters in Oman in Janurary.
I remember standing on the edge of the world on those rocks, splashes of rabid foam into the sky, daring the world--- and perhaps God--- to give me adventure, to take me away to another land, another world than this silver island, hills of dark green, knotted forests that reach down to the shores, which are lined with the bones of trees, silvered with salt.
I left for the city where my father grew up, not far, which I miss very much, but it is not what I remember best, not where I will be going.
I will be one of only two Muslims in town if old Selah has passed away. I don't know. I haven't returned for a while. I will be alone, like ever I was, to walk for groceries and things. I am not frightened. That is the least of my worries, even those stupid hick boys and women who think I am brainwashed or something can't bother me with the weight of the other things to do and to manage.

I don't very much like being disapointed and having my plans not work out, and even less, being helpless. It feels strange, to know I am going back, but to be home, in Oman.
I am building my house in Oman, all my dreams coming together, my husband and children here. That makes the land-far-and-away even stranger. To be so much part of a place, and yet, to have never belonged there.... I don't know really why I am blogging this... but I am.
{ends posts}

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Aw. I hope whatever you're going through will be okay, Insha'Allah. Take care

Suburban said...

Hope you are alright, darling. drop me an email if you need anything. X

A Canadian Gulf-Trotter♥ said...

Salaam alaikum,

I feel the same way when I think about going back to Canada. That's what happens when you build your life in a foreign land... Also we are citizens through our children which is the strongest connection. If you go to the masjid on Quadra and see any of those OCD goofs, tell them the weather here is beautiful & sunny ;-)

Omani Princess (not Omani...yet) said...

Anonmous: Thank you. Alhamdulilah I am good and know Allah writes all to the best. Shukran.

Suburban: Thank you, you're so sweet. You are going to Abu Dhabi but not Muscat? How terrible of you!

A Canadian Gulf-trotter: Yeah, so true. LOL, I wasn't planning on going, but I have to apologize in person to a couple of sisters. And I plan to haul a lot of abayas to mosque and be like take me if I fit in a sign or something.
I remember being desperate for decent abayas there:) so maybe I will go once? I just don't want to cause any trouble or get mad with intolerance etc... The Gulf is so different in so many ways... Islam is way more relaxed. Culture plays a stronger role. Yet... somehow the extremism of the western Islam is weird ya know> doesn't make sense. But some ppl practice it purer there, rawer... and I nearly got mugged last time I walked down Quadra street! LOL