Nature is the best medicine..
Laying down under the shade of many trees and looking directly up into branches that lightly sway, the gentle sound of water flowing, and a breeze making you shiver just a little. Whilst some say laughter is the best medicine, I say the better medicine is Kurdistan’s natural beauty.
The sticky and sweaty afternoons, the sizzling sun, and of course the dust storms is all too much to a city that is overloaded in cars—taking a trip from Erbil all the way to the Iran border of Haji Omran and back at the end of the election week was definitely a mental and psychological revitalization, if it were possible a brain scan of before and after would reveal a great transformation.
I must admit having lived all my life in major cities, and being used to the noisy environment of hectic life with office hours, traffic lights, students loaded with overdue assessments and catching up with the latest catastrophes the world is experiencing on Aljazeera and CNN life can be congested compared to our small bodies and overworking brains. Being driven through mountains, trees, and certain geographic features of the landscape that cannot be unraveled by the naked eye, one must believe the existence of a great kind above who has put all this together.
The 16 hour trip from sunrise to … well, moon rise was not the typical Kurdish picnic just lagging behind the Erbil checkpoint with loud music till your ears pop and return home with stitches because of all the dancing, it was what I call a recovery, five star, end of week paradise that I recommend to all those living a frenzied life with a daily routine in the city.
It was an experience of everything; from drinking the Sheikh’s water in Haji Omran (that is known to be good for the kidney); to tasting the core of edible wild flowers and eating handpicked ripe, juicy and unwashed berries; seeing divine insects (that is, other than ants and cockroaches) and losing a contest of ‘who can leave their feet the longest in the icy cold water.”
It is amazing the amount of water that flows through Kurdistan, literally some flowing from nowhere, walking through flowing cold water with colorful rocks, plants of all types and surrounded by green leaves and plants for as far as your eyes can reach in all directions has become one of my favorite hobbies.
I noticed the people who live in those areas are politer than we are, and thankful for everything they have, I realized our wants has exceeded our needs and when we have what we want we seem to continue to want more- selfish and snobby is what we turn to be. Looking outside the window into the full moon on the way back home I reminded myself of how young people, like myself have become too carried away with submerging our live with what is going on in the rest of the world; what is newest mobile phone; the top rated YouTube video; what type of bear Obama drink in the backyard meeting and how many million will Mrs. Jackson inherit.
Whilst I am all for the development of technology and progress of society, has it reached out of proportion? If it has not today, then tomorrow it will explode off proportion. Before birds were used to transport letters, now they are hunted for a sport; there was a time when lovers wrote with feathers to each other, then there came a time when they make up and break up by a text message. Visiting a friend to see how life is treating them and what is their latest development is now unnecessary- after all there is always facebook! People used to celebrate the food they ate, the taste it has and indulge in the flavors, whereas today we have become image conscious.
Visiting Kurdistan’s natural beauty, makes you yearn for a simpler life that is trouble free, away from the chaos of the world and the stress of what has to be done by tomorrow. A day spent by flowing waters, waterfalls, trees, mountains, and moments shared with those you love ought to be the best medicine.
As you pack for this weekend, do not forget the spare batteries for the camera and extra sandals—incase one flows away.
by Sazan Mandalawi- published in the Kurdish Globe (August, 09)