Day 18~ November 18th~ New York

a walk in the park

Every desert houses an oasis, and for New York City, central park is just that vital. One of the largest and most visited urban parks in the world, the park has bucket loads of charm to offer. Even when you don’t have time to visit during the rush of life, knowing that it is there, a slice of uninterrupted natural life in the middle of all the concrete, is a release of stress. Funny how despite all the gadgets we create, the technological advancements we champion, all it takes is little walk in the park to confirm our sense of being.

Day 28~ September 28th~ Tuscany

the beautiful outdoors

Being outdoors is to be free of the boxes we build to hide ourselves from the world and to keep the outdoors well, away from us. In Tuscany, I found that the outside world kept pulling me out, to be with the sounds, the smells, the colors and the warmth of nature, and the Italian hills are just magnificently beautiful!

Day 23~ August 23rd~ Boracay

Breaking waves

My 8 year old daughter is fascinated by supernatural phenomena and is constantly asking about way a person can become a wizard. I have found that the best way to answer her constant questioning is by turning her to the best teacher of all, nature.

I have put her to the task of collecting examples of natural laws and she goes on somewhat patiently collecting examples of opposites (like day and night, up and down), then things that come in 3s, 4s, 7s and so on. Last night we were going on about waves which led me to my own research about the intricate motion and physics behind waves (fascinating). One type of waves is the breaking wave, the one whose top becomes way too heavy for its base to handle and is eventually forced to break. I thought how profound that is, and how similar it is to the towers of kings and queens in history that had a weak foundation and eventually came tumbling down as they still do today…

Day 15~ May 15th~ Cambodia

the trees of ta prohm

Nature always finds a way to erode away human traces on its surfaces around the planet. In the temples of Angkor Wat, like in this old one in Ta Prohm, nature’s ways are not very subtle. The magnificent banyan trees just march over the great temples with their large trunks and extend their roots to wrap them around the great rocks and squeeze them till they simply fall apart under the intense pressure. And no matter how many times humans try to cut the trees and free the ruins, the trees just keep coming back. Such are the mysterious ways of the jungle temples of Cambodia. In these places you don’t have to squint or extend your arms to try and feel any energies or vibrations of mystery, because it all stares you straight in the face and if you stand there long enough, it just might warp you in its powerful grip.

Day 7~ May 7th~ Cambodia

to each child their playground

There is a magical thing about children, which is the ability to use anything around them for creating a unique playground. I remember playing near our house in a Lebanese village jumping down a terraced field from one level to another hoping that no bones were broken, and making glue from tree sap and flower milk, and creating a small world from moss, stones and twigs. It is no different in Cambodia. I saw children creating games that fit their environment and adapting to make the most of what is available to them. The children I saw in the floating village had not heard of ipads or nintendo yet, and their fun appears to be just as great if not greater than our children’s in the west.

photo taken: boy running back on forth between the stilt raised structures in the Tonle Sap floating village


Day 2~ March 2nd~ Egypt

The great pyramids at Giza

I went to Egypt with hundreds of questions and came back with thousands.

Egypt lives in children’s imaginations as the world of fantasy, of pharaohs, of mummies, of pyramids, of kings, of power, of ankhs, and I am yet to meet a child who hears about Egypt without falling prey to its enchantment.

Ancient Egypt is big, it is massive, it is impressive, and it can make you feel so small if you let it. Everything natural and human has a way of returning to the earth, our bodies do, our waters circle up to the skies and return, our seeds grow only to wither again and nourish the soil. Not Egypt. Egypt was always looking beyond the planet’s cozy atmosphere and towards the heavens. The pyramids are gigantic, pointy, sharp, were covered with shiny limestone that reflected and could be seen from space, the stars were charted in Egypt on every sarcophagus, on every tomb, and bodies were mummified to withstand time and to defy the laws of nature here on Earth. Was it  because Egypt had other plans?

There are about 138 pyramids discovered in Egypt, the largest is Giza’s Khufu pyramid photographed above at sunrise, and is the only wonder of the ancient worlds that remains standing.


Day Three Hundred Thirty, December 18, 2011

in exploration

Three airports, two airplanes, 2 cars, 3 cafes and about 20 hours from door to door, Lea could not think of staying more than 2 minutes behind another closed door. Out to nature and straight into exploration she went. Her behavior reminded me of the time in New York when I adopted 2 cats and how the moment they entered my apartment, they were off to explore every corner and every object around them sniffing and rubbing against furniture and walls to get their bearings. Children are just as natural and they are drawn immediately into a state of detection and where better to detect than nature and trees.

Day Two Hundred Fourty Six, September 25, 2011

Is it the end or the promise of a new beginning?

At the end of summer so many little funerals are held in the great church that is nature. Flowers die, leaves  wear their ceremonial dress of color as they sway gently to face their  inevitable end, grains are harvested and their stems left to dry and return to the earth. So yes, “everything returns to the source of its arising” and so will each one of us one day. But there is a glory in this cycle of life and death, of flowering and withering, of fulfilling a purpose and then gracefully passing the baton to another. Flowers blossom again, trees grow new leaves, all is renewed and if we are lucky and if we have done well then perhaps so are we.

Dwelling on the mysteries of life that never cease to flirt with my mind and my soul.