Remember marble mazes, mother-may-I, monopoly, or musical chairs when thinking back to your childhood? Well, for me the sound the dice clambering on wooden board, the sight of men sitting and sipping tea for hours as they chit-chat and play away, and the hours of intense strategizing competition with my sister filled up a lot of those years. Not just a game to pass idle time, but a cultural keepsake of a time when there was time to roll the divination bones and allow fate and strategy, two forces fierce in life, to be center of attention and played out on boards of beauty.
This game of old has had many variations and names throughout many a culture for more than 5000 years. Archaeological evidence from the Burnt City in the Sistan-Baluchistan province of Southeastern Iran unearthed the oldest known gaming board, made of ebony with agate and turquoise pieces from approximately 5,200 years ago. (First discovered and investigated by Aurel Stein in the early 1900’s, this site also revealed the world's earliest artificial eye made of bitumen and gold - hung in the socket by gold thread! 2900-2800 B.C.E! Have a look: http://www.iranreview.org/content/Documents/Iran_s_Burnt_City.htm)
Inspired by" Hopper", my daily friend whose broken limb eventually fell off. I then watched as he gradually adjusted his body and life as a one legged bird able to fly, land, eat and defend himself from the mocking flock that pecked and perturbed. Hopper was my medicine and a great inspiration during that layer of extreme pain, illness, and disability, and continues to teach me with a smile about ability, adaptiblility, and beingness.
Tangled form free from thought,
most often the place where knots are dropped.
Simple straw, moldy mud, pink plastic, or laundry lint -
matrix knitted by the Choreography of Life towards a mighty mitt.
For some the hustle & bustle of city life.
For others solitude that cuts like a knife.
Anger, fear, disheveled despair,
love, grace, faint kindness still smelling of rose-water air.
Daily nests are what we are,
constantly transforming alongside the dance of stars.
No waiting needed as we receive
some holy egg, often shrouded in soon-to-be crackling mystery.
One day this egg was was a one-legged bird
who was gifted possibility no other way learned.
Another day the egg look like a ghost,
teaching how to feed life with the reluctancy of an ill-mannered host.
Many an egg land in our nests,
never-endingly received till the last of breath.
And so, if nests we are to be,
might as well get used to it and receive gratefully.
H. Shariatmadari January 1, 2016
On the Shelf