Posted by adiamondinsunlight on June 8, 2007
This morning it rained again – a brief but intense sprinkling that left the air fresh and crisp. I walked to the gym smiling at the clean just-after-the-rain air, scented with the jasmine and other flowering bushes that grow on the grounds of my neighborhood mosque.
K is just back from Damascus, and talking about the city we both love over dinner last night made me nostalgic for its many charms. One of the loveliest things about Damascus is how green it is – not only in terms of the many parks that dot the city, but also in terms of the lush flowering trees and bushes that spill out from ground floor terraces onto the sidewalks.
When I think of Damascus greenery, I think of the jasmine that fills the city, and I think of the countless times that I have seen someone – young woman, old man, child – reach out and break off a jasmine flower to carry with them, holding it to their noses as they walk away. I rarely see it here – although now and again I have seen someone reach out for a sprig while passing the mosque. I see them, and it makes me smile.
While buying bread on my way to work, I made the usual Midwestern pleasantries with the shopkeeper.
The weather is nice today, I said. Its not too hot – or too humid.
Yes, he replied, but did you mmfmfmmmf?
What? I asked.
Errrr, he replied. “Raining”.
Ohhhh, I said, grateful for the English word. I realized what he had asked – whether I had noticed that it had “wintered” this morning.
I have a friend from Damascus who studied for several years in Beirut. This word was one he would use to highlight the differences between Lebanese and Syrian Arabic.
When it rains in Damascus, we say “its raining”. When it rains in Beirut, they say “its wintering”, K would say. The Lebanese are so dramatic.
Remembering K’s words made me smile as I replied to the grocer. I missed his use of “wintering” because to me this morning’s rain was only a light shower, lovely though it was.