I know it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I like to spend time in the countryside. I love to see the greenery grow and watch the shadows cast by the haughty looking palm trees lengthen as the evening wears on. It’s my way of recharging my batteries, filling myself with positive energy and reaching the peace of mind I need in order to exude quality vibes when interacting with kindred spirits, to wit, other tender souls.
Indeed, I eventually bought a plot of land in poor condition, spruced it up, and planted some orange and lemon trees on it. Then a friend of mine got sick. After his recovery, I invited him and his family plus a few other friends to spend a day at the farm. But first I took several trips to the farm myself to ready it for their visit. I conducted a site inspection and figured out the shortest way to get there from the city.
The property has two entrances. One leads through a tree-lined path. Halfway on the route, one comes across a well and a sprinkler that are used to water a mulberry grove. The tree-lined path tapers toward its end. The other access route runs through a grape arbor that borders some buildings. At the end of the path and to the right there is a round bench surrounded by trees teeming with colorful flowers. This spot is bathed in soft and mellow light that reflects off of the tree leaves and flowers. The bowered pathway, which is paved and wide enough to be traversed by car, leads to the residential house, which is walled off from the area where the rest of the buildings stand: the servant house, the two pigeon towers, and the animal sheds. There is yet another path connecting the residential house to this area, which can also be accessed directly from the outside. In front of the residential house there is an orchard with mulberry trees and palms. These same trees can also be found on both sides of the path leading to the center of the farm.
My friends had to take the bus that plies the route from Alexandria to Cairo following the Cairo–Alexandria highway that crosses the Beheira governorate. They got off at kilometer 112 and continued on foot along the curvy road that branches off to the left. After the first three curves, they stumbled upon a mosque called En-Naeem Mosque, which lies next to a big chicken farm. My farm is located just around the corner.
I welcomed them to my farm, and together we built some swings by tying a couple of logs to tree branches with rope. They were meant for the kids, but even the grown-ups wound up having fun with them. We also picked oranges and split them equally between ourselves. We took photos with the trees, the flowers, and the dovecotes. We ate berries straight from the trees. We pulled some leaves from the mint plants growing wildly around the house and picked some grape leaves in order to stuff them and prepare a traditional dish. In a flash, it had gotten late and become the time to say our goodbyes. We promised to repeat the experience in the future. A break amidst nature, away from our stressful city lives, had done us good. We had restored our vitality and were at peace with the universe.
God’s grace knows no bounds. He has placed us in a beautiful world and endowed us with the ability to appreciate it. Affection, friendship, love . . . all the things that make life merry we have Him to thank for.
Written by Hanaa Abdel Hady.