A view from the train in my hometown.

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"I'll prove to you that a tree has a soul", I exclaimed tilting my body forward while theatrically casting a hand out to demand the attention of those before me. I found an excited smile to compliment my wide-eyes then held an atmospheric pause, "I'll prove to you that a tree has a soul", I continued, softening my tone as I began my father's story – heard in Iran the night before – told in England the day after.

Less than 24-hours separated my father's enthusiastic interjection in a controversial debate, a debate that was more comfortably reiterated in the tolerant air and company of a place I once called home. Home is where I've finally arrived, landing to the backdrop of an annual aviation festival – reuniting conversations bothered by the ripped skies, vibrating with the sound of billions of pounds. Something about the airshow tasted more sour than the previous years.

Between the parading of a fighter jet – the Euro Fighter at a guess – I began my parody, enlightening my Great British friends circling me in a Great British pub, "'My father – god bless his soul...' , 'God bless his soul!', we respectfully repeated...". I was overjoyed at being reunited with subtle words, sharp ears and being able to pick from a shelved vernacular. "'...upon inspecting one of the trees in his orchid was concerned that a certain one was not bearing fruit. He took me out of sight of the tree, gave me an axe and relayed a plan'". I continued my father's story explaining that he had been asked to act out a scene in the tree's company whereby my father was to threaten cutting the tree down, supposedly to encourage cooperation. "'No, we'll give the tree one more chance!', responded his father in this staged moment". I leant further forward modeling my father's excitement as he approached his conclusion. Whilst mustering another atmospheric pause, I drew the mimicry to a close, "...and the next year the tree bore fruit!". The soul, I was assured.

A world war two bomber crossed the skyline as I shared the dodgy science still on my mind from my last Tehran night

I later travelled through my hometown with a dear friend, slightly disorientated at the abrupt change in my ddmmyyyy. A rapid series of events in Iran had brought my person sitting calmly in moderate traffic, grey skies and in the company of calm pink-faces. A world war two bomber crossed the skyline as I shared the dodgy science still on my mind from my last Tehran night, "Yes scientists in Amsterdam have proven that playing music to plants helps them grow", I paraphrased before repeating my response. "I'm willing to accept this, but this is not an indication of soul".

Might playing music at various distances effect growth?
What alterations in the environment are brought about by intervention?
How do differing species react in the presence of music?

During my 4-seasons away I often considered an Arabic phrase as I've come to learn of my family around me – 'my dad rode a camel, I drive a car, my son flies a jet and his son rides a camel'.Jets have been circling me, friends have been driving me and I've seen no camels.


  • Hi There its Claire here from a new news digest programme called The Listening Post for Al Jazeera's new global english language channel. Do you have an email address or phone number I can contact you on (urgently!)? I am based in London claire.sutton@thelisteningpost.tv
    Hope to hear from you,
    Best wishes

    By Anonymous claire sutton, at 1:21 PM  

  • I LOVE that saying. A friend of mine used to say that ALL the time.
    Blessings to you.
    your humble servant,
    Ancient Clown

    By Blogger Ancient Clown, at 3:30 PM  

  • p.s. I also meant to tell you the beginning of your post reminded me of a short story called "The Throne of Stones".

    By Blogger Ancient Clown, at 3:34 PM  

  • There's actually a movie around this story "The Pear Tree":

    By Blogger pooya, at 1:40 AM  

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