Everything that happened before and everything that would happen after paused so I could connect the dots and see how, collectively, they all made sense. Life slows down when you’re mindful.
On the third night of our trip in Morocco, and our first in Chefchaouen, we procured our first bottle of Moroccan wine, popped it open on the rooftop of our riad, waited for the sun to set, and listened for the day’s penultimate call to prayer to sing out. As if through honey, the movements of clinking our wine glasses together in innocent glee, positioning our chairs to look out over the city, and raising our hands to shield the sun as it set over the Rif Mountains play slowly in my memory. And then–*exhale*–the first call to prayer begins its crescendo. Like waking from a trance, the moment was over.
During our time in Chefchaouen, I became more aware of the frequency in which we saw Arabic. Away from the bustle of busy Tangier, we could stroll more casually through the winding medina, pausing to snap pictures of every new shade of blue and take notice of the foreign script–on street signs, storefronts, and scrawled across walls, all in characters I couldn't make out. It reminded me of reading Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist and a particular Arabic word that stuck with me–maktub. It translates roughly to, ‘it is written’–as in, your destiny has always been so. I read this book when I was living in Edinburgh; when I realized I wanted to be a writer. I've since felt maktub for Edinburgh; I feel it now about Morocco, too. Thumbing through its pages, I’m careful not to unfold the ones I once dog-eared. Saving pages isn’t a frequent habit of mine, so why did I do it? I realize now I didn’t just save them to re-read certain passages, even though I often do. I dog-eared these pages to imprint the precise moments when I connected to its message–that once you've decided to pursue your calling, the universe conspires to help you achieve your dreams. This rang true in Edinburgh; it rang true in Morocco, too.
That moment on the rooftop? It was an opportunity for an imprint, too. One that reminded me of why I travel–to find places, people, and opportunities that make me acutely aware of being no where else but present. To be conscious of my awareness is rare; it’s easier to be distracted by devices and disengaged from what’s happening right before you. It takes effort to be in attendance of your own experience. Fortunately, I was present to dog-ear the precise moment when I connected with Morocco.
Then time turned the page.
This is the second post in a multi-part series about Morocco. Stay tuned.