The birds sang while I prayed this morning. I now realize they were awaiting the sun. The clouds are still there but it is not like yesterday nor the day before yesterday. The weather shifts in the Bay Area, constantly, I never know what month it is.
I don’t miss the snow. The ice. The pollution visible on the ground. But it is the end of May. I don’t think it should be snowing in Brooklyn. At the end of May I used to get ready for the hot summer months. Train rides and bus trips to the beach, outdoor concerts, blankets on the Prospect Park grass, beautiful people all around. The humidity used to choke me. I had short hair for many years. Short enough for it to look straight. My hair long and curly gets big in the east coast humidity. I wonder what it would look like now if I ever went to visit with my white streak in the front.
It is almost five years that I have lived in California. When people ask me where I am from I hesitate and say, I live in Oakland. I can’t fully claim it, there are still almost thirty years of Brooklyn inside of me. Thank God for California. I wanted to come here since I was five years old. I am not sure how I knew that California existed. Maybe it was Hollywood movies. Sunshine and palm trees, I didn’t know about the LA smog or San Francisco fog. At five I told my parents two things 1- I was moving to California when I was old enough. 2- I was gonna get tattoos. I don’t understand how I knew about tattoos at five, maybe it was like knowing about California. Hollywood must have shown me tattoos. I got the latter first. My body with nine pieces of art. I have drawings of tattoos I have wanted but they are too expensive. I couldn’t imagine spending that much on myself. When I got my last one I wondered why I was still doing it. I guess somehow I thought I would forget my stories. My tattoos are like bookmarks letting me know where I left off.
In a memoir workshop I attended the teacher, Demetria Martinez, talked about consistency. I thought about Sheikh Yassir khutbahs about being consistent with our prayers. There are times that I still fight myself to pray. These are the moments that I know I am the worst at surrendering. I am trying to be consistent and I am at least consistent with fajr. I try not to yawn at this pre dawn prayer noticing the sky change around me. I committed myself to be then consistent with my writing. My life revisited after fajr. I write, mind clear, I don’t even open up my email. Perhaps then I can be consistent with all my actions, present in the moment, aware of how this world worlds.