In one of the old and crowded neighborhoods of Shiraz, my uncle had a big old house with magnificent oriental architecture, where I spent my childhood. Although I have lots of fond memories of every corner of this house, my most vivid ones are of its yard. At the entrance, there was a wide garden with three enormous and very old orange trees. To the right, lay a small trapezoidal blue pond that seemed extensive to my child’s eyes. To the left, hung a rusty yellow swing surrounded by jasmine bushes. The yard was surrounded by walls adorned with stunning tiles decorated with Persian miniature motifs. But these are not all the miracles of this yard. With the arrival of each new season, it took on a fresh color and scent, and its beauty enchanted me anew.
In the spring, the trees were laden with orange blossoms whose aroma filled the air. A gentle spring breeze would be enough to scatter the delicate white jasmine flowers on the ground, where they made a white carpet beneath the yellow swing. The pond was usually full of water and two small red fish swam in it. Their red color, in contrast to the blue color of the pond, was so bright that we could see them even from a distance. But the fish were not the only guests in the yard. Sitting on the tree branches, nightingales and canaries sang, and, day and night, they brought joy and happiness to me and my family.
Every summer weekend, the whole family gathered in the yard. Although the weather was very hot, the sun shining with all its might, the shade of the trees protected us. At a certain time of day, when the sun shone brightly on the water streaming from the fountain, rainbow halos would form. We, all twelve children, would watch as we vied for the rusty swing so that we could hear its squeaking sound, though it was usually lost in the sound of our laughter.
In the autumn, the changes in the yard were dynamic and vital. The oranges shone on the trees. The crows cawed. The rain filled the pond and washed the tiles on the walls so their design was clearer than before. Although the family did not spend time in the yard on rainy days, we would all look out at all these things and admire their beauty.
In the winter, the leaves fell until there was nothing left except the bare branches. The snow fell and the pond stood empty. No birds sang and all living creatures seemed to disappear.
When I think of it now, I find it hard for me to believe that these scenes were repeated year after year, since now a tower stands where the house once was and the yard has been replaced by a dark and dirty parking lot. Maybe I did not appreciate that beautiful yard enough at the time, but I am glad the memory of it still lives in my mind. Every time I think about that beloved yard, I feel both nostalgic but also grateful. How fortunate I was to have had a blessed spot in which to grow and thrive!