When the sun shows her face, here in cold and cloudy England, people flock to parks, and to their rooftops and balconies, like summer flowers, newly-blossomed, opening themselves up to absorb as much of it as they can. Sunglasses, picnics. The golden, invisible stuff, which cuts through expansive dullness. Brightens up our days.
Sitting on the roof of [redacted, because she wanna be m y s t e r i o u s] School, sitting on our coats or on the bare ground. The enclosing walls are tall: the rest of the world cannot see us there. Nachos and homemade guac. And one of my colleagues, explaining what she has learnt regarding the Four Temperaments, using her phone-screen as a whiteboard. An outdoor sixth form lesson is going on, in one general corner. And then a somewhat extreme game of collective skipping. And that laziness, contrasted by the sporadic slaps of the rope, onto the tarmac.
You know those days, during which Time feels a little more… suspended… than usual? Tight-rope temporality. Things are moving, moving. Things are staying… awfully (and wonderfully) still. Still, we need both, I suppose: that sense that things are happening, developing, and moving. And a comforting sense of stillness: of some things, at least, remaining the same.
Things to look forward to. But we cannot account for all that will or will not happen. Not at present, anyway.
Somebody says something. Reveals a hard-hitting element of her own life-story, though she says it somewhat casually. And we all go silent for a little while. We sit with the words, and with the heaviness. And there is only about a minute left, until we need to go downstairs again, for the next lesson.
Words, and writing, and story-telling. I know that, when I come to write about happenings within my own life[‘s story,], what I am really doing is… a whole lot of processing, and filtering. And I am ascribing – or, finding – meaning in these things.
When people say that words are powerful, they are not wrong: words are not detachable from meaning, and meaning is not detachable from our words. We think through words. We convey our thoughts through words. [And I find it very strange but fascinating: the fact that some people claim not to have a running inner monologue. So, does that mean that they can only really think externally, through conversation with others?!]
We come to know, and to understand, through words. The Qur’an, also, is filled with words; it is filled with meaning.
I am not entirely sure where I am going with this particular piece, but ‘free-writing’ really is a nice thing to do.
Some people (in accordance with the general ideas behind the ‘Four Temperament’ method of categorisation) are more choleric. Take charge, decisive, their way or the highway. Some are more phlegmatic. Laid-back, go-with-the-flow, slow to anger. And then, some people are more ‘sanguine’: effortlessly social, highly pleasant to be around; they can light up an entire room with just their smiles. And some people are more ‘melancholic’: quiet, mystical, sensitive and reflective.
But then again, nobody is just one thing. Nobody is a particular thing all of the time, either. I guess the human being [sounding like an alien anthropologist, here, again, I am aware] is so deeply complex and widely multi-faceted that words are useful, in coming to understand one another. But it is awfully difficult to seek to define things that are moving, and changing, developing and adapting. Counting the seconds, and the hours. Loving the taste of something, one day, and not liking it at all, the very next.
Words are useful, with us. The narratives we allow them to make up, for us, also. But labels are cerebral boxes. And definitions exclude the possibility for change.
With us, and with our selves, and with our ways of seeing things, and with our relationships, and with the shapes of these lives of ours: we need the things that stay still. Or there would be chaos, and a complete lack of understanding. Wordlessness: wholly unintelligible. And also, we need things to move and to move, and to change, and to change. And maybe, to come back to all of these things, and to try to ascribe meaning to them. Not too solid and constrictive that it becomes spirit-destroying, and yet, not too dizzyingly, anxiety-inducingly ‘free’ that it becomes devoid of any consistency; of things to hold onto.
This article is unlikely to make very much sense to you, at all, dear reader. But it holds quite a bit of meaning, for me. Here, in the depths of reality, and what it is for me. As I keep saying (and telling myself) Dunya is a difficult place. But, as Allah tells us, “with difficulty, there is ease”. This world is not without its beauty, and its comforts, and its more interesting parts. Sometimes, these come to us in the form of cherry blossom trees and cake. Sometimes, they come in the form of people.
I guess I am somebody who wants to know what – and who – is mine, and for me. I do thoroughly believe in connections of the soul, for what else is there? And these connections of the soul, I want to give them, (and not, as I unfortunately quite frequently do, things that do not concern me) my everything. [Yet how strange is it, that I have little control over what any of these efforts will return?]
With Salaam, Sadia, 2021.