It’s Got Mountains, It’s Got Rivers, It’s Got Sights to Give You Shivers, But It Sure Would Be Prettier With You…

If living in Europe has taught me anything, it’s that love and loss are inevitable parts of life, leaving you with no choice but to accept. So after the sudden death of my uncle due to his lifelong battle with diabetes, I decided to celebrate his life and love with something he loved the most; nature. He had chosen a piece of land in Tonekabon, in the north of Iran, far away from his hometown, taking advantage of the fertilizing winds coming from the Caspian sea and constant rainfalls to create “a little piece of paradise” as his home, welcoming friends and family to lanes of apple and pear trees…

Fields of Gold and Green

After dropping off a friend visiting from Cologne at the train station, I took my bike and rode in a direction I never had. Away from my apartment, away from the city… With the sun tickling my bare shoulders and a soft breeze caressing my sun-burnt legs, I pedaled in the warm summer day. I discovered fields of gold and green. I passed the last bus stop, pedestrians with their overly excited dogs and topless manual workers with heavily tanned torsos carrying logs, the sun doing a lot of justice to their protruding muscles… I reached a path where for the first time in a long time I felt alone. Serene is not a frequent word I can use to describe my emotions. I was ironically excited… Smiling, I watched the sun blink on the house bearing mountains, quite similar to those you’d find in the north of Iran sitting on the Alborz mountains. I was no longer in Heidelberg, I was no longer 26. I was the girl in the back of my father’s white car in Iran, accompanied with several other cars containing aunts and uncles and cousins, on the road driving out of our town of pollution and people, looking for somewhere “with water and a breeze” to unpack our saffron drinks and Kottlette sandwiches decorated with mint leaves. It would be the 13th day of the year and we, heavy from two weeks of Noruz feasting, could not wait to pick teams and play dodge ball, our shrieks swallowed by the Zagros mountains. Or it would be summer, too hot to concentrate. My mother’s basket always ready in the corner of our kitchen, stacks of plastic knives, forks and spoons sat neatly next to paper cups and plates. One phone call from someone suggesting to have an outing and my father would be out the door shopping for fresh watermelons and melons, my mother would start preparing Olivieh. Within an hour we’d be covered in sunblock and filled with excitement in search of a place “with water and a breeze”.

Snap back to reality, I am 26, in Germany, alone, with my purple bike, in the middle of somewhere I’d like to call nowhere but which is in fact in a pedaling distance from my apartment in Heidelberg. The sun is leaving tan lines on my skin. And all I can think of is how my uncle had asked me to go visit him in Tonekabon last August, and I had not found the time during my three week stay in Iran. And how after they had cut his leg, he was still hopeful that he could walk saying “there is new technology that can help me walk again”. And how inside that little paradise of his sat a cottage with shelves and shelves of books inspiring him to write… How he had composed poems for family members. And how he had made “birthday reminder books” containing each and every one of the close and extended family member’s birthday, including addresses and phone numbers and sent them to each of us, so we’d be showered with phone calls and cards from all over the world on our birthdays… How each time he called my father or uncle they’d go into a room and giggle at his not-so-polite jokes and never breathe a word of them to us no matter how much we begged… How much family meant to him and how he had built his life around love…

Ahmad Moshtagh

My family mourned the loss of a great teacher in a funeral I could not attend. I celebrated his life 4000 kilometers away, where I was a child again, in fields of gold and green…

And as he rests under his favourite pear tree, I hope he knew that we love him to the moon and back…

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4 thoughts on “It’s Got Mountains, It’s Got Rivers, It’s Got Sights to Give You Shivers, But It Sure Would Be Prettier With You…

  1. Quite touching, Niloufar joon.. Amoo Ahmad is the great and important chapter in our (Nima & I) life; Unbelievable loss…

    1. He was my first teacher of love and the great promoter of education. He subscribed me for a children magazine when I was only 6 years old.(Noor daanesh baray farzandaan).At that time he was only a teenager himself. I owe him a lot for everything I have.I will miss him forever.

  2. Beautiful and touching words, god bless his soul, I have lots of good memories of him, my thought and prayers are with the family.

  3. Thank you my darlings for spending the time to read this. Amoo Ahmad has a special place in our hearts. He will be missed tremendously, yet he has left us so many beautiful memories…

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