The fishing pole in hand. Glasses shading me from the dancing sun rays reflecting off the Caspian waters. By my side a wise and caring man. He is inhaling and exhaling the smoke of a cigarette. And in the meditative rhythm tells me that I have to be patient. That the fishes are smart and it is hard to catch them in perfect weather, when the water is clear and you can see up on the boardwalk. On this day, the wind also took a break from showcasing its mighty powers and didn’t appear for the rest of the day, leaving the water as clear as glass.
This was one of many beautiful summers I spent in Azerbaijan with my uncle. Spending a month by the sea, running on its shores, meeting with friends, and gazing off into the big unknown. Nature always had a calming effect on me, and these few precious hours are the beautiful parts of life that I will forever keep locked in my heart.
Nowadays, I live in a completely different environment. I see people rushing, sometimes even running on the way to work. Taking the metro during rush hour, I feel like a sardine, packed into carts, as new fishes are added and lost at each new stop. I see people addicted to coffee, the legal drug that gives you strength and energy to work 9, 10, and at times, 14 hour work days. I see people eating lunch at their desk because a 20 minute break is too much for them, they can’t afford to leave their work for that long.
And once the work is done, the same people flock to bars to finally enjoy some peace. Their favorite events are “happy hours” because you can buy more drinks, and feel the alcohol wash away the caffeine as the depressants ease your worried mind. They help temporarily, but tomorrow the process begins anew.
What a contrast. Black and white. Day and night. Hot and cold. But I feel that one is also Right, and the other is Wrong. I believe that we as a civilization have spent too much energy and time living against nature and its laws. We made our focus the attainment of materialistic things, like money and possessions. As if these things feed us, fill our life with happiness and meaning.
They don’t. I know. At one point of my life, I was that young and naive believer, thinking that if I was wealthy enough other important things in life, such as love, great friendships and joy will soon appear. They didn’t.
You know what filled me with joy? Hiking, being part of nature, helping my relatives in Qax collect hazelnuts during the autumn season, and helping redistribute food that would otherwise be thrown away to people in need. None of those activities pay me cash, they pay me in happiness – and that feeling doesn’t have a price.
Nature doesn’t rush. A seed takes time to grow. And before rising up to the heavens, it strengthens its roots. It basks in the sunlight of day, fills up on energy and then uses it wisely to sprout flowers. Nothing in nature grows quickly, it takes time. Bees toil away, flying from one such flower to another, before they start making honey. Honey that can last for years and cure so many illnesses!
So if nothing of meaning is given to us quickly. If nothing of meaning can be rushed through, what are all these people in the city rushing for? Life can fly past us if we don’t stop to realize that valuable things in life take time. We must be patient.
That summer day by the sea, after a few hours of fishing, I happily hauled away some catches. The small ones we fed to stray cats, and I got to pet these furry creatures in the process. And just like that, the cycle of happiness was complete.
My uncle was an amazing man, one that I loved with my whole heart. I will forever carry our precious moments with me. “Patience child”… his words stay true to this day.
Forever with love,