“Beneath The Bark” (Story Dice Sundays)

A beetle, lightning bolt and a tree

When I was a boy, I was once in the forest that was nestled on my grandpa’s farm. I remember it being cold, despite the summer weather. My mind was swimming with worry and anxiety. I was far away from home, for starters—grandpa lived in Ontario, long away from my home in Alberta. I was also traveling without my parents, and having just survived a horrid week of summer camp, my attachment issues were only growing. I was also scared of a lot of things at that time: storms, aliens, vampires, asteroids, the end of the world, etc. and being on my own, all these fears were just magnified. On the outside, though, I tried to keep it all together. Continue reading ““Beneath The Bark” (Story Dice Sundays)”

21. “My center” (The Hajj Journal)

September 17, 2015

I returned to the Haram today, intent on doing tawaf again. I stood outside the whirlpool of people, mentally preparing myself to go in. I was on the ground level. The Ka’ba towered over the crowd before me. I began walking towards the entrance into the centrifuge of people (check analogy), ready to just dive in. I felt the same way one does before diving into water. I paused, listening to the roar of footsteps, sounding like a water fall. A deep breath, and I was in. Continue reading “21. “My center” (The Hajj Journal)”

“Lilith” (Story Dice Sundays)

A magnet, an alien, a house, a keyhole, a tree and a bridge.

Lillith woke up. The first thing she noticed was the gentle breeze flowing over her. The shade of a tree. The tickling itch of the grass beneath her. Slowly she sat up and looked around.

A rolling countryside was spread out before her. Picket fences snaked along the sides of hills, while in the small valley below rows of cherry trees stood in military-like order in an orchard.

I wish this were real. She thought solemnly.

I wish I were real.
Continue reading ““Lilith” (Story Dice Sundays)”

“The Whisper in the Bricks” (Story Dice Sundays)

Story Dice: A castle, tent, skyscraper, lightning bolt, bridge and speech bubble.

Listen closely. Can you hear it? The whisper in the bricks.

Look around you: the skyscrapers, the houses, our modern castles. How far we’ve come from caves and tents. The hands of man built these.

Every one of them has a story they want to tell you. In the living and going and working we can’t hear them. But they’re storytellers, these bricks. They’re waiting for you to listen. To tell you of the blood and sweat in them. Of the daily heartbreak and celebration that goes on inside them. Of where they came from—from humble dirt and dust, eventually moulded into their magnificent shapes. Of where they’re going.

Through ages and millennia, these bricks have been speaking to us. Some still stand today, their faces eroded with time, their hearts emptied, but still willing to testify to the lives of times long past. The great castles. The towering churches. The halls of flowing arches and marble built by the lightning strike of creative inspiration (or madness). Pyramids and gardens and coliseums. The Moorish and Tang and Gothic and Renaissance. A world of bricks. A world of whispers. Each one waiting for us to cross that bridge between us and the sublime mysteries of who we were—who we are.

Continue reading ““The Whisper in the Bricks” (Story Dice Sundays)”

What’s Mecca Like? (The Hajj Journal)

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If Las Vegas is the city that never sleeps, Mecca is the city that never stops praying. At all moments in the downtown core, you can find people heading to Masjid Al-Haram (or just “The Haram”), the mosque that contains the Ka’bah. In addition to that, it’s also a bustling economic powerhouse with international franchises setting up shop just a short walk from the holiest site in Islam. It feels surprisingly close to a metropolitan city in Canada, like Toronto; people are always moving, always trying to get somewhere or get to something. Mecca never stops.

One of the people I met summed up Mecca brilliantly: “Medina is tranquility; Mecca is the power.”

Continue reading “What’s Mecca Like? (The Hajj Journal)”