on fasting

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

My father's voice fills the room, the rythmic, repetitive sound of his chant is tangible, like the blanket I am wrapped up in. It envelops me in the warmth of the Words.

day one - dawn

From the window at the back of the house I can see the sky, just now turning from pitch black to that early morning, gray blue.
The silouettes of the forest trees stretch out long, skinny and black, still bare and skeletal from winter, but ready to bring forth a new season of life.

day fifteen - dawn

The sun, is rising in the east.
We sit there praying, the six of us - four siblings and two parents, full from breakfast and hot, strong persian tea. Lulled by the melody.

It is the single most vivid memory of my childhood, that prayer, those moments together. Chanted every morning during this time of the year*, as we sit in the chilly living room, dawn just breaking, awake long before we usually do.

march 20th - dawn

My mother and father will have waken well before us, to set the table fully, and prepare bread and cereals, fruit and yogurt. They wake us up, no matter our age, and they've managed to make 6am utterly joyous, something to look forward to as you go to bed the night before. We are all a bit sleepy, groggy, still warm from our beds.

day nine - dawn

For the first time in over a decade I am back in that room, just me with the two of them this time, but I can feel my sisters and my brother with us as we pray.
I know that in their respective corners of the world they will also rise when it's still dark, alone or with their families, to welcome back this yearly ritual.
But I also know they are here with us. That each one of them, at some point in their own early mornings, will think of my mother and father, and of my father's chanted prayer for the Fast.
And they will smile to themselves, think fondly of the blessed years we spent all together in this home, and probably like me, say a little prayer of gratitude. Thankful to have been born into a family that has taught us that what is sometimes hard and frustrating - the abstinence all day from food and drink - can somehow be the most joyous event of the year.


* as a Baha'i, this is a most precious period of the year: the nineteen day long Fast. From sunrise to sunset, Baha'is all over the world do not eat or drink between sunrise and sunset, every day from March 2nd and ends on March 20th - with the celebration of Naw-Ruz, the start of the new year.

** the photos are some of my old submissions for nineteen days. the project is back again this year, for the fourth time, and there is an outstanding group of photographers participating this year, so I strongly encourage you to visit it daily!

old stomping ground

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Sometimes you forget how much you loved living somewhere until you leave it, and then go back to visit. I knew I loved living in London, and I knew it was beautiful, but I forgot how glorious it can be, when the weather cooperates.

from the top deck

st. paul


evening walk

Thursday, February 17, 2011

It is so, so quiet. All I can hear are the birds, already excitedly waiting for spring.
And us, walking.


And that light - beautiful, beautiful blue.


It is just light enough to take a few photos, but teetering on the verge of darkness. And you look forward to making it home again, shake off the chill, and sit down by the fire with a warm cup of tea.


oh la la.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

a very short break. with long walks (love the woman shaking out her tablecloth).

french kiss

where we could find some warm weather, in February.



coffee and people watching. a perfect combination (hello stripey socks).


naps in the sun.

la riviera.


and not.

tuckered out

a few more here.

more china

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The growth of my belly is to blame for my absence from this space. Forgive me - it might be wishful thinking but I hope things will pick up again around here sometime soon!
A few weeks months ago, my friend Chessa asked me to guest post on her blog while she took some time off to enjoy the newest addition to her family.

I shared more photos from our recent trip to China - and I wanted to make sure you saw there here, too.
Young visitors in Tienanmen Square.


Signs of spring, on the Great Wall.

just before i dropped my camera

The glorious vistas of Yangshuo county. Day long bike rides in the rain didn't make this place any less awe inspiring.



Freshly picked oranges on the side of the street.

citrus on a bike.

Good luck wishes on front doors.

good wishes.

Friendly, sweet faces. Everywhere.



she sells water.


Thursday, June 3, 2010

China was fascinating. In all the obvious ways.

long way.

And in thousands of small, unexpected ways.


leave your little shoes at the door.

different walls.



There is a lot more where this came from. I promise I will post them... soon.

blog it forward - what inspires me...

Thursday, March 18, 2010

This month is incredibly precious to me. March coincides with a nineteen days long fast for members of the Baha'i Faith. All over the world, Baha'is are abstaining from food and drink, from sunrise to sunset, from March 2nd to march 20th. Why, you ask?

"It is essentially a period of meditation and prayer, of spiritual recuperation, during which the believer must strive to make the necessary readjustments in his inner life, and to refresh and reinvigorate the spiritual forces latent within his soul. Its significance and purpose are, therefore, fundamentally spiritual in character."
-- Shoghi Effendi

In conjunction with this special time, a group of Baha'i photographers decided to collaborate in a worldwide project: each day of the Fast, two photographers would take photos at dawn and dusk, to mark the beginning and the end of every fasting day. And so was born nineteen days, which has provided me with daily doses of visual and spiritual inspiration this month.
Here are some of my most favorite photographs...

Layli - Rapid City, USA

This post is a part of
blog it forward, a wonderful initiative by victoria, to collect and share inspiration from all over the world. I am so happy to be a part of this and encourage you to check out all the other blogs involved, and especially our.city.lights who is posting tomorrow!

'nineteen days' book - and a giveaway!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

nineteen days - the book!

Leila, Anjali and I spent the past two months working on collecting the images and the words of our 'nineteen days' project from last year. The result? A lovely book - filled with over eighty full-color pictures, from a cup of tea in America to a blazing sunset over an African capital... it is a truly precious thing to us and I hope it will be to you too!

We're have three copies of the book to giveaway - as a special thank you to friends that purchase the book and help spread the word about it. Here is what you need to do to be eligible for the giveaway:

(1) Do one of the following: join our facebook group, follow us on twitter at @nineteendays, post the cover of “nineteen days” to your flickr account and link to the “nineteen days” shopping site, or blog about this giveaway.

(2) Buy at least one copy of “nineteen days“: the more copies you buy, the more times you are entered to win one of the three giveaway copies.

(3) Let us know that you’re in to win by contacting us. You can do one or more of the following:

  • tweet this message: “Hey, @nineteendays, count me in for your book giveaway!”
  • leave a comment on this blog
  • contact us on flickr, letting us know you’ve posted the cover (Amy, Anjali, or Leila).
  • post something relevant on your facebook status (and then let us know on our facebook group’s wall).

(4) Winner(s) of the three giveaway copies of “nineteen days” will be chosen by random selection.

(5) On Tuesday, 9 March 2010, at 5pm MST we will announce the winner(s) of the three giveaway copies of “nineteen days“!

This is a beautiful book, a five-star book, a book you know you need.

Good luck!

nineteen days - year three

Monday, March 1, 2010

year three 2

I can hardly believe it is March once again. And that this year marks the third year that my dearest friend leila and I will be working on nineteen days.
Leila and I are both
members of the Bahá'í Faith and we started this project back in 2008 as a way to mark the annual occurrence of the Bahá'í Fast.

It is essentially a period of meditation and prayer, of spiritual recuperation, during which the believer must strive to make the necessary readjustments in his inner life, and to refresh and reinvigorate the spiritual forces latent in his soul. Its significance and purpose are, therefore, fundamentally spiritual in character.
–Shoghi Effendi —

Then last year, we cast our net a bit wider and invited 19 additional photographers to join us.
This year we because incredibly ambitious and have thirty-eight people contributing from all over the world.

year three

Every day a different pairing of photographers will share images, words and thoughts of their fasting experience.
On one of those days, leila and I will share our own.

year three 3

We hope you can join us over at nineteen days.

dinner time

Saturday, February 27, 2010


lemons and olives.


It's cold and dark in the evenings still. So we cook food that is warm, and comforting. Pasta with zucchini, or tomatoes, broccoli, even butternut squash once so far. Polenta. Ratatouille. A variety of persian stews. Soups with big chunks of bread to go with them. What is your winter comfort food?

good company.

Some perch themselves on the windowsill, curiously smelling the air, intrigued by what we are making...