The joys of namaaz alfresco

Ever since I escaped the vain tumult of DC life, I’ve told people that its cost of living and paradoxically sterile civic and communal life achieved the psychological equivalent of the miracle of transforming lead into gold: a hopeless Yankee, big-city sophisticate who for the longest time considered any area too small to support a proper "alternative" newspaper an irremediably uncivilized backwater has been born anew as a country boy whose hearts sinks at the thought of heading into town. And my aversion to "civilization" grows only more intense with time.

We’re not really in the Sticks yet. It’s a wooded subdivision on land on the outskirts of Athens (technically, we’re in Winterville) that until recently was farmland–but at this rate, I’ll be hunting for a log cabin next time we move. (So long as it can get broadband.)

Today I discovered perhaps the best argument for living far from the Big City:  Fajr on one’s patio in the open air, with crickets a-creaking, birds a-chirping, leaves a-rustling and no anxieties about perplexed neighbors ringing up Homeland Security.  It was so peaceful and invigorating. (It also made this "ronin" wish he had a wird of his own, but that’s another discussion.)

Before you get overly impressed at this report, I must concede that Fajr and I aren’t nearly as well acquainted as we ought to be. As Shabana can confirm, I’m a particularly heavy sleeper, a sun-averse vampire who feeds only at night–I’m built for fjords, not beaches–a Rip van Winkle who can sleep for absurdly long periods if allowed, and an all around indolent individual whose cognitive faculties are severely impaired until a mid-morning carafe of coffee has been consumed and a tongue inserted into an electrical socket.Suffice it to say that Fajr has always been a struggle. This is of course the idea, but I don’t think it’s supposed to quite such a struggle,  much less one so often lost.

Anyway, I’ve always marveled at how some Morning People can not only get up at the crack of dawn, but engage in vigorous, outdoorsy activities  (Tai Chee, Yoga,  Katas, jogging, chopping wood, powerwalking, …). Having actually ventured onto the surface world so early in the day for the first time in a while, I guess it’s not so crazy after all.  Now I just need to invent a Rube Goldberg-style alarm clock that dumps a bucket of ice water on me, zaps you with a cattle rod, sends me through a wudu "car wash", and then drops me out a shoot onto a jai-namaz on my patio.

  • http://www.rickshawdiaries.blogspot.com Baraka

    Salaam,
    “Today I discovered perhaps the best argument for living far from the Big City: Fajr on one’s patio in the open air, with crickets a-creaking, birds a-chirping, leaves a-rustling and no anxieties about perplexed neighbors ringing up Homeland Security.”
    Sounds wonderful!

  • http://www.blogistan.co.uk/blog/ Yusuf Smith

    As-Salaamu ‘alaikum,
    Which Athens is this? (The only Athens outside Greece I’m really aware of is in Georgia.)

  • http://akramsrazor.typepad.com svend

    Salaams,
    It seems like every city on Earth has at least one namesake in the States, so I bet there are other contenders. But you guessed right.

  • http://ywns.livejournal.com Yunus

    As-salamu alaykum! Going through your blog after getting home.
    Fajr on your porch! Mahvelous!
    Your wake-up procedure reminds me irresistably of a sort of pious Wallace & Grommit.
    Check out this wird: it’s 80% or so selected ayat & some supplication. I quite love it, which is why I made the booklet! And it’s hard to go wrong with dhikr with La ilaha illa-Llah and al-asma al-husna.
    http://ywnswsly.myweb.uga.edu/hizb-ash-shaykh.pdf


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