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!


strawberryface said...

This moved me so deeply and resonated on so many levels. Beautiful. Thank you, love.

noosh. said...

so beautiful amy- i have similar memories of being with my family praying in the morning and the rhythms of the fasting prayers- they have an amazing power. for me i would want to wake up to leftover kabob and rice from the night before for breakfast though! :) happy fast to you and the family!

ariana k. macpherson said...

agreed. so beautiful, amy! thank you for posting.

Of Joy and Love said...

Such a sweet posting on this first day of the Fast!

Elizabeth said...

So moving Amy, truly, and takes me back as well. It's so wonderful that you can begin this fast with your parents, as well as begin O's first fast this way.

Neda Neyestani said...

Hi Amy joon,

I was brought to tears as I read your post. Thank you for sharing these personal memories with us on the first day of the Fast and for taking me back to my childhood as well.

Missing you dearly and can't wait to see you in NY. Give that cutie pie a bog boos from all of us.


sabzii said...

this reminded me of home. and family. thank you.

Studio said...

Grazie, amore mio...te me pianzar!

Rhiannon said...

i loooooooooooooooooove those birds. oh goodness!

bahiehk.com said...

Hi Amy!!

So nice to see you're back to blogging. :)

Just added you to my blogroll here: http://bahiehk.com/

And thanks for sharing your cherished memories... Made me think of my fasting time when I still lived at my parents, I could almost smell the 'noon o sabzi'.

See ya

Bahieh K.

Shohreh said...

Cosi' semplice, cosi' bello, e cosi' commovente, Amy joon.
Chiudo gli occhi e sento persino i profumi!

Un abbraccio a te, uno tenero alla tua preziosa e uno grande ai tuoi.


bahiehk.com said...

thank you again:


you are in there somewhere. twice. ;)

M.M.E. said...

This is so moving! You have such a way of writing that makes everything beautiful. I wish I had such fond memories. I hope you enjoyed the fasting period and the wonderful new year celebration.

nyx said...

this is so beautiful... i'm not religious, but writings like these make religion resonate with me. they bring to the fore all the wonder and hope i believe is the essence of faith of any kind.

the lil bee said...

This was absolutely beautiful. I could feel myself in that home with you. How lucky you were to grow up in such a loving family.

raining sheep said...

What a wonderful post. I did not realize that you follow a ritual like that. I am not religious at all, but I love rituals, I believe in them and feel that we as humans require them to ensure that we a grateful for what we have.

Suzanne said...

I loved your post. Thanks for letting me reminisce with you. Beautiful moments...

Dina said...

Your writing is so lovely!

US taxes abroad said...

love that last photo!

a ji o ji suno ji said...

Lexi Ann and Miss Ming would also love a cape!
English Bulldog Puppies

Clipping Path said...

WoW!!! Amazing Photography :)

Happy New Year. My wish for you in the coming year is peace and joy.

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