Recently, I came across a drawing of a traditional house with earthen walls that brought to mind memories of my grandmother’s house. I can never forget the days that I spent in that house with her. In spring and summer, her garden bloomed, a mass of delicate purple and pink flowers. In the middle of the yard there was a little pool with some fish. The house stood next to the pool, with earthen walls and stained glass windows.
My grandmother lived peacefully in that quiet house, but she was vibrant and alive. Looking into her pale brown eyes, I felt so energized I might have been a butterfly flying into the big white clouds. Although she had some mystery about her, with a big nose and a square chin like a wizard, she was just a simple good-hearted woman. While caring for me, she was very strict, but also very kind.
Every spring, I would retreat to her house to study for my exams. It was quiet there. Even after I took all of my exams, I did not want to return home. I preferred to stay with her, all summer long. My mind was at rest in that peaceful house with my grandmother. Every afternoon, we would sit together on the settee, which was on the right corner of the yard and covered with a white bed sheet. My grandmother would pour tea into two red cups and we would have a little tea party together. When I finished my tea, I would lie on her legs, and she would run her fingers through my curly hair. She would tell me tales from The Gulistan of Sa’di by Sheik Sa’di, or she would sing a lullaby in a soft, melodious voice. One of the tales about an unjust king who asked a holy man, “What is more excellent than prayers?” He answered: “For you to remain asleep till midday, that for this one interval you might not afflict mankind.”
When I arose each morning, I would see my grandmother kneading, with her wrinkled hands, some loaves of bread for our breakfast. When we ate the bread, she would add a knob of butter to make it more delicious. The whole morning the house would be filled with the lovely smell of baking bread. After I had finished my breakfast, I would listen carefully to her as she chanted the Hidden Words in a gentle voice full of conviction. One of them I can never forget: “O Son of Man! Neglect not My commandments if thou lovest My beauty, and forget not My counsels if thou wouldst attain My good pleasure.”
It has been years since I spent those glorious summer days with my grandmother. But even now, I can visualize her walking ahead of me, like a guide on the sometimes dark road of life. For me, she has always been and will always be a lamp, lighting the way ahead. As a child, I loved everything about my grandmother, her quiet house and her beautiful garden. And even though the house no longer stands, the memory of my grandmother and her earthen house continues to fill my heart with peace.