10/15/2007

Prosperity Trees

A pomegrante tree in the lovely home in Claremont, California
I spent a weekend with good friends. It was exhausting as we were stuck in a horrible traffic jam caused by a major accident on the freeway, and spent most of our time sitting in the car, talking and laughing. We visited an interesting couple (Iranian man, American woman) whose home was filled with love and music. In their lively backyard, they had planted fig and pomegranate trees, the two trees which are supposed to bring good luck and prosperity to an Iranian home. I was touched by the kind and warm impromptu reception put forward for us. I was particularly charmed by the sweet and easy love flowing in that household between two people from such different worlds and backgrounds. A dear friend of mine lives in and around that loving home these days, and I'm so glad for her. Visiting them was one of the best things that happened during the weekend. I wished there had been more time to get to know them better.

8 comments:

Tameshk said...

Nazy Joon

Fig and Pomegranate are my favorit
autumn fruits. I have heard in China Tangerine is the symbol of Prosperity .

بانوي جشنواره زمستان said...

Nazy junam; ye chizi be man mige be zudi mikhay biyay iran:-)

nimshab said...

I can imagine the house but still like to see their yard with my own eyes. Happy that you had a nice weekend and met new people, good ones!

Nazy said...

Tameshk Jan. Here's a poem my friend Persis Karim wrote in loving memory of her "Baba." It is called Pomegranates:

To root themselves in their new home
Mother and Baba planted native trees: madrone, oak and the manzanita at the end of the drive,
To remind them of their foreignness
they planted olive, almond, quince, pomegranate.

The first time my mother packed one in my lunch
I shrank in embarrassmnt, quickly returning the leathery bulb to the brown bag.
How to eat a pomegranate without being conspicuous?
It is a slow and exacting endeavor,
an act of worship.

You never slice them with a knife, my father would say
when the September heat made the trees
sag with the ornaments of autumn.
In his world, men sold them on the streets
for a few toumans, shouting, "Anar-e Khoshmazeh!"
"Delicios pomegranates!" rolling the sun-fushed
hides between two palms.
Customers at the corner of a cart,
kneaded, coaxed the last of the blood-red juice
from a hole, allowing it to touch only their lips.

Our American sensibility refused this technique.
We never took their exotic form for granted.
"Throw them in the air, let them crack open!"
my brothers yelled, waiting for the quiet
thud and then, the invisible seam
that split them open like an unhealed wound.
We liked the splattter of color on face and hands,
evidence of pomegranate carnage.

In my twenties, I finally understood the fecund symbol.
A magazine in the chiropractor's office
advised women wanting to conceive:
Eat estrogen-rich foods--shrimps, scallops,
pomegranates. Like the larvae of some magical butterfly
the red ovules offered a cure for barren women.

There are two kinds of people in the world:
those who pluck the seeds from the waxy yellow
membrane, tossng them into their mouths--
and those who hoard the ruby jewels
jealously guarding the pile until the last
crimson kernel is extracted.

Once in a child' game of war,
my brother plucked a pomegranate,
tore its feathery crown, and with a heave
mimicked the sound of a grenade
exploding with his mouth full of saliva.
"Burry it" I said, looking at its inedible remains.
Baba would not tolerate such sacrilege.

When I learned a Sephardic version of the fall--
that it was a pomegranate and not an apple--
I felt a kind of secret pride.
It's too cold for apples in the Gardn of Eden,
I told a friend, knowing with certainty
they wouldn't be wearing fig leaves.

This fall, my two-year-old son,
undaunted, eats his first pomegranate.
His tiny, probing fingers harvest the seeds
one by one. With hands stained
by this baptism, he offers them to me
like the remnants of an untold story
inerited in the womb.

From "Let Me Tell You Where I've Been"

Nazy said...

Nedaye Azizam: I wished your intuition were correct! I so wished I was on my way, but I'm not. We will have a family reunion around a wedding here in December, so I won't be going anywhere during the Christmas holidays. You will be the first to know when I'm ready to go, as I cannot keep any secrets from anyone! (well, maybe one or two!). Be good azizam.

Nazy said...

Yes, Nimeh Shab Jan. They are lovely and you would have liked them a lot. Their house was full of musical instruments, from a Piano, to many Tar's and Setar's, to Tonbak and Daf, to Ney which our host said is his main instrument. They have promised to come visit us when they visit their friends in Berkeley. When they do, you are welcome to come meet them. In the meantime, when you are settled, I will come to your "khooneh mobaraki," when you tell me you are ready! Be good azizam.

بانوي جشنواره زمستان said...

good wishes!
wating for you to chattting in coffeshop, have breakfast,play backgammon, be good :)

Nazy said...

Yes, Neda, we will!