A fond farewell

February 2, 2020

...until spring arrives in March and all of nature wakes up to new beginnings

– Image by the writer in her garden

"The Earth laughs in flowers" is written at the back of my green tea-bag this morning. A quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson, I must remember it as I prepare for the emotional demands of marrying off a daughter in Lahore that is weeks away.

Not all the liberal arts women’s college education in the US, nor the activism practised for causes I believed in, nor any of the ‘isms’ that I hold dear, have erased the archetype of South Asian womanhood.

When it comes to seeing a daughter off into a new life in marriage, I am steeped in the pure essence of emotional concentration and intense prayer. A life lived in privacy is about to be shared with friends and family in a joint celebration, and the sheer terror of this and seeing off a daughter into an unknown future, are grounds for deep, tectonic shifts inside my being.

But as I take deep breaths of rain-fresh Lahore air and watch my soaked garden prepare for spring, it will be to the natural world that I will turn to sustain and steady my mother’s heart.

When laughter is too difficult, I will look at my flowers to remember how the earth laughs; when tears are too near, I will look to the birds to remember how they sing; when confusion dominates, I will look at the ripe lemons on my tree to remember singleness of purpose in fruition.

But from the readers of this column, I must request a short break until spring arrives in March and all of nature wakes up to new beginnings. That is when I will return to tap the keys of my laptop and commune with you again about nature and our human life inside this dome of perfection, our blue planet.

The writer is a Lahore-based ecologist 

A fond farewell: Emotional demands of marrying off a daughter in Lahore