It has been long and ruthless this winter of 2014. The winds blasting frigid temperatures into the air, hurricanes devastating entire areas of land and the snow relentless and silent, throwing blankets of ice over the world. While underneath hurrying footsteps nature is sleeping, patiently nurturing seeds and the promise of new life.
This much anticipated event called the Vernal Equinox is due March 20, a date announcing the grand celebration about to take place. Spring is here and the world will once again be painted in exuberant colors
In March of 1976 I was living in Shiraz, Iran with my partner Ed. We had been teaching at the University and were anticipating the closing of schools to celebrate the Iranian New Year or Now-Ruz, welcoming the year 2537. We planned to visit several cities, most particularly the village of Mahan and the shrine of Shah Nematollah Vali, the 14th century Iranian mystic and poet.
We left Shiraz and headed east towards the desert cities of Kerman, Bam, Yazd and Mahan. Kerman was some 800 kilometers and 12 hours away from Shiraz, quite an undertaking for our little car, our Jyane, an Iranian version of the French 2CV Citroen. But lured by the history of these ancient cities we set out on the adventure accompanied by the hum of our mighty vehicle dashing into the enormous stretches of beige ripples of the Dashte-Lut desert. Then as if a magic wand had tapped into the horizon, villages appeared surrounded by mud walls crowned with blossoms and branches sparkling with tender new leaves. After a while I began recognizing almond trees, orange groves, wild pistachios with lavender heart shaped blossoms. I wondered how people survived here the rest of the year when everything is given up to the heat of a brutal sun. But this was springtime in the desert and all of nature was singing. Here and there villagers appeared and women carrying earthen jars to collect water from a well. They walked about in striking dresses, their tinseled shawls fired by the noonday sun as they sat by some stream washing their aluminum pots and pans with earth then dipping them into the stream to rinse them out.
We stopped for lunch next to a pistachio tree in bloom, their lavender hearts circled by white petals. We were overlooking a valley, above us a clear sky, and the stillness filled with echoes of the earth breathing.
The following poem was written in remembrance of Now-Ruz, 2537 in the Dashte-Lut desert, Iran.
My mind wanders Over her photographs A sequence of stories Recorded on the road Of time In a land where I gleaned Mental jewels And treasures In a country Once called Persia I remember A breath Whispering Spring is here I remember Pistachio trees Dressed In lavender veils Flapping their colors In the air I remember Almonds buds Transformed Into bridal embroidery Tumbling bouquets Against crumbling walls Cascades of flowers Covering the sand And branches Beginning to dance I remember faces,faces Silently watching The transformation Silent gazes Watching Springtime Painting the desert In Iran