I was looking at the sun rising from the horizon on one of those rare days I ventured outside to the beach before the stars lost their shine in the sky. It was then I realized we don’t have to wait for death to touch paradise. Paradise is no myth, it can happen at the drop of the hat and that early morning on the beach, as the golden light touched the fluffy clouds, I knew that I was tasting a sample of it. The dawn was on its full glory and I was in the midst of it. I felt like I was the only person left on earth. Then a wicked thought crossed my mind as I was feeling the soft sands on the soles of my feet. Some of us, in the midst of our lives, experience death.
It does not have to be so. It is all about where you are, what you are willing to do. I could not touch the horizon with my fingers but I did not need to. My eyes feasted on it and my thoughts were captivated by the sheer beauty of it. I knew it would not last long before the light of the day washes out the magic away. But I also realized, when one magic exits, the next one unfolds.
There is a never-ending fairytale in the course of the day, the evening and the night as well, in the same breath of the argument. As the sun was climbing higher and it was beginning to paint the vast space around it with magnificent light, my thoughts ventured far afield. There were little “paradises” all around us that are waiting to be discovered if we are in the right frame of mind. When the summer’s sun was too hot, I left the beach and walked to my car. I drove to a shopping mall to escape the heat of the day.
A few paces after the entrance, a two-year-old girl ran unsteadily towards the arms of her big brother. He could not have been more than six. He scooped her up, gave her little body a hug and pressed his lips firmly on one of her rosy cheeks. I stopped momentarily and looked at them. But to my mild amazement, no one thought it was worthy of a glance. How could they have missed that? I kept on going with my business while the rest were engrossed with their shopping.
A couple of hours later, I reached home and made my way to the front door. Muffled sounds caught my attention. They came from a line of flower pots under the compound wall. On closer investigation, I found a litter of four newborn kittens snuggling cozily under their mother’s belly. The mother looked up at me suspiciously. It started growling that made the kitten snuggle even closer to its body. Not to confront on its most private moment, I backed out and went in. Only to come out a few minutes later with a bowl of milk that I placed next to her.
I cannot be sure of it but I think the mother cat wiped out the snarl off its face and looked at me gratefully. I would have loved to pick up one of her lovely kittens but I knew she would fight me off ferociously. I backed out politely and went in to avoid an unnecessary confrontation.
I wound up my day with a few brushes of earthly paradises that made my 24 hours memorable and worth living. I slept that night, like most nights for many years, wondering what the next day would bring. It is not hard to find those moments. They are around us almost every corner we turn to. The problem is that we either don’t bother or we are completely looking at the wrong direction.
Saleh Al Shaibany