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Memories sparkle like icicles hanging from the roof

December 5, 2003
The Iranian

I open the window in the early morning to let some fresh air in. Southern California never gets cold and there's no snow where we live, but I know it is winter. The humming birds have left and the flowers in my garden are sleepy. Soon I'll trim the rose bushes. There's no sign of a real winter and yet, I can feel it. The neighbor's pools get drained and people begin to wear sweaters.

It is as beautiful here in winter as any other time of the year, but I'm feeling the old familiar blues and wonder why? Is it because of this glittery holiday which isn't mine? Is it the end of yet another idle year? Or is it just me aging and getting grumpy? All I know is that moving from a very cold climate to the sunny state has not made too much of a difference in that nagging winter blues.

I open and look at the black and white photograph of winter on the front cover. The vivid image makes me wonder if someone else knows winter the same way I do. I hear the breathing of dying animals. Their breath forms little weak clouds before them. I feel the cold limbs of those rams and lie down on the snowy ground by their side and dream of a place that used to be.

Then I think about my grandmother's Korsi in the late afternoon and how toasty my toes felt as she poured me a glass of hot tea. I lean back against the large cushion and pull the quilt up to my chin and plan on building a snowman as soon as I am warm enough to face the cold outdoors. I snack on the dried fruits and nuts she presented in a bowl. The future is mine and nothing can make me doubt that.

I came from a generation of limited toys and no entertainment. Knee deep snow meant an excuse to stay at school for lunch and a simple birthday party presented an event to look forward to. Life was simple and there was never a need to "plan" anything. Education was free and, for a good student in the middle class, the road was clear. Family ties were tight and support came in abundance. I felt content and secure.

Now that middle class is all over the world. We have exchanged our korsi for a central heating, yet feel the deep freeze more than ever.

We have reared a generation who has so much more: more toys, more entertainment and many more options. Yet they are neither content nor secure. They do not know which option to take and lack that security which we took for granted. They work hard, yet have no jobs, they have toys, but are bored, they have entertainment but are unable to enjoy. Winter, for them, is nothing but cold weather and they will never know how it feels to sit around a grandmother's korsi and eat snow with syrup on top.

Who had more? I wonder.

Happy memories can turn into sorrow with passage of time. I think what I feel is not the air. Perhaps it is the chill of nostalgia that gets me down. The muffled sounds of long ago will never leave. Memories sparkle like icicles hanging from the roof.

Winter chill is in me, even on a sunny California day.


Zohreh Khazai Ghahremani is a retired dentist and a freelance writer. She lives in San Diego, California. Top

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By Zohreh Khazai Ghahremani



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