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Behind and Beyond the Veil

Character Spotlight – Jafar Siddiqui

3rd.bro.samDecember 27, 2015

The next spotlight will be on the middle brother of The Siddiqui Brothers in Cairo, Jafar Siddiqui.

“Jafar was an excellent astronomer and an even better drinker. He simply loved life and everyone in it. He had almost a cherubic look about him, which made him easily forgiven when he engaged in his diabolical mischief making. He never hurt anyone, just vexed them to no end.” – The Siddiqui Brothers in Cairo

Jafar is another rock star scientist during the Golden Age of Islam and brother to Omar. Like his brothers, he is one of the elite astronomer astrologers of his day. Yet, he always remembers to have fun and enjoy the raucous journey that is his life.

At the same time, he values integrity and sincerity. He has no problem assisting his brothers uncovering and foiling an assassination plot against the vizier. Nor does he shy away from championing a young, deserving, female scientist. Of course, he doesn’t shy away from charming her, either.

Later, he discovers a mysterious and wondrous power that he doesn’t understand or even want. This power throws jinn and fairies into his path. He navigates the unusual circumstances thrown his way with aplomb that is just part of the Siddiqui way.

This is Jafar Siddiqui. Another golden ray of light like the age he hails from.

Until next time… look behind and beyond the veil…

​​​​Character Spotlight – Omar Siddiqui

Sam.fatherDecember 20, 2015

In my upcoming work, “The Siddiqui Brothers in Cairo,” the main characters are Omar, Jafar, and Nasir. The three are rock star astronomer astrologers and progressive men of their time.  In the coming weeks, I will be doing a character spotlight on each brother. The first spotlight will be on the eldest, Omar.

Omar was beautiful and charming, and he knew it. He was tall with olive skin and had the demeanor of a man who effortlessly achieves everything his heart desires. He was also highly intelligent. This combination of charm and brilliance made him like the stars he spent his evenings studying and admiring.” – The Siddiqui Brothers in Cairo

Omar is a rock star scientist during the Golden Age of Islam. He is amongst the elite of the astronomer astrologers of his day. He holds his own with the intellects and hoodlums of his society.  Like his brothers, he suffers no fools gladly. He will treat anyone as an equal and finds all worthy of his respect, unless they prove otherwise. Omar loves and fights with the passion of a poet and the pragmatism of the true man of science he is.

He is the undisputed leader of the Siddiqui brothers. He loves and supports them. He fights alongside them. When Jafar and Nasir are uncertain of the paths they will follow, Omar offers a supportive shoulder or a kicking foot.

Omar adores his love, Amiran. He will fight with fury when his ladylove, a known courtesan, is disparaged because he knows what she does is not who she is. He admires and encourages her independent spirit and will, even if what she wants does not align with what he envisions.

Although not a judgmental or religious man, he abhors the corruption he witnesses in Imam Mustapha. When he and his brothers uncover a plot to assassinate the vizier, he has no choice but to assist in foiling the plot with his brothers.

This is Omar Siddiqui. As golden as the age he hails from.

Until next time… look behind and beyond the veil…

All Life Matters

6848923_tree-of-life-iiDecember 15, 2015

Life is precious. It doesn’t matter to me what kind of life. I avoid killing spiders and other insects in my house for this reason. I cry when I hear about shelter dogs being euthanized for this reason. It truly hearts my heart when I see any sort of animal pain or animal cruelty for this reason. Of course, all human life is precious to me. I don’t qualify whose life it is. Apparently, the media and many in our society do. The disproportionate mourning and lack of righteous indignation on atrocities of all kinds has been disturbing to me in recent times.

A few weeks ago, Paris saw a horrific terrorist attack that left 129 people dead. News reports popped up all over. Social media went crazy. People on Facebook changed their profile pictures to show the French flag. However, only the day before a similar attack occurred in Beirut. No media blitz. No social media mass mourning. Over 6,000 Boko Haram related deaths occurred in 2014. At the beginning of this year, Boko Haram killed around 2,000 people in one day. Where was the righteous indignation there? Just these statistics alone lead one to believe that only white, Christian life matters. Some may argue, that these are regular occurrences in certain parts of the world, so it doesn’t get as much attention. Regular occurrence or not, life is life. Christian, Muslim. Jew, white, black, brown, and everything else in between. Life is life. The unnecessary and violent taking of it matters.

Backlash towards defenseless people because they have a similar cultural and religious background to those who have committed atrocities matters, also. The House of Representatives passed a bill limiting the number of Syrian and Iraqi refugees, subjecting them to a more vigorous vetting process. This legislation was proposed because a Syrian passport was supposedly found near the body of one of the suicide bombers. That was never confirmed, and it is believed that all the suicide bombers were French. One possible terrorist within the millions of Syrian refugees fleeing should make us fear them? If you use that logic since most of the mass shootings in this country are perpetrated by white, Christian men, we should fear them. That makes about as much sense as labeling Muslim refugees.

This labeling has made its way into the political arena and contributed to making politics in America the “Theater of the Absurd.” Trump is talking about a database for Muslims. His supporters ask him about “getting rid” of Muslims. Later, he called for banning Muslims from coming to the US. His rhetoric contributed to at least 19 reported acts of violence towards Muslims. Further, 31 governors have refused to allow Syrian refugees. The majority of these refugees are women and children. Maybe 2 percent are of combat age. Operating on fear is giving ISIS and other extremist groups exactly what they want: to divide. Let’s look at the history in this country. The real threat came from the European immigrants who massacred and disenfranchised Native Americans. Still, no one ever institutionalized fear of people from Europe. We are devaluing the lives of people who are seeking the same freedoms that all human beings seek. Their lives matter, just like ours do.

The lives of the victims of the San Bernadino shooting matter. It’s unfortunate that the suspected shooters happen to be Muslim. It will only feed into the Muslim hysteria already out there. Not too long after, members of the Muslim community in the Philadelphia region demonstrated their disapproval of ISIS and other terrorist groups. Many mass shooters are Christian men, but no Christian groups demonstrated to condemn these actions. It’s just understood that humanity is present and rational human beings don’t condone these actions. Overarching fear of mainstream Christianity doesn’t exist here. Why is there such fear of Muslims? It all matters.

Further, inequities exist in how the rule of law is applied. How is it that the South Carolina and Planned Parenthood shooters – clear threats to society- are taken alive while too many black men are shot by police for traffic violations?  In the Planned Parenthood attack, Robert Deer killed 3, wounded 9, had a five hour shootout with police, and was taken alive. Laquan McDonald was shot sixteen times as he was walking and wasn’t actually doing anything threatening the moment he was shot. He maybe had a knife and police were responding to him breaking into cars in the area. McDonald was on foot. In the video that was released a year after this man was killed he is clearly walking away and being shot 15 seconds after he was on the ground. Even police officers said there wasn’t a need for force. In another case, an unarmed motorist was shot in the head for not having a front license plate. He was cooperating with police the moment he was shot. I’m confused. Men who have shot people and who are shooting at police are less dangerous than black men who are unarmed or have knives? The disparity in how some citizens are treated in relation to others cannot be denied. Excessive force and police brutality matter. It doesn’t matter whose life it is.

The point is, around the world, we are categorizing and ranking whose lives matter more and whose don’t. Appraisal of life is not an inviolable human right. Life comes through us but is not created by us. It all originates from the divine, so we are all divine. I guess some of us are just less divine than others. It all matters. All life matters. All lives matter.

Until next time… look behind and beyond the veil…

Beyond the Veil, Beard, and the Beads

BVBB blog picAugust 10, 2015

As I’ve stated in this blog before, organized religion irks me. To be more specific, it’s the rigidity of the people who practice organized religion who irk me. Those who read one book once and think they have the right to judge everyone who does not go by that one book. For most religions, there are diverse images of those who practice that religion. However when it comes to Muslims, there is mainly one image. So when people especially Muslims, seek to address and go beyond stereotypes, I feel they should be applauded and not torn down. If someone chooses to adopt a progressive form of religion, they should not be judged, either. When we as a community are divided, how can we expect anyone to take us seriously? When Muslims rightly call out the media for one-sided depictions of themselves in the news, why do some criticize anyone who presents an interpretation of Islam that’s different from the traditional?

Many times, divisions arise between progressives and conservatives. There are many of us who are progressive, yet see the beauty in religion and what its real intent was: to unite and give a code of conduct to live in a humanistic way. Not to pound each other over the head with what our interpretation is. If someone wants to show a more diverse picture of what a Muslim looks like, let them, even if it’s not what you would do. Other Muslims should not accuse someone of not understanding their religion or look down on them because they think they’re buying too much into the Western lifestyle. It’s not for anyone to judge. If those in the Muslim community choose to judge, then we should not blame the media for their one-sided bias when we, ourselves are exhibiting a bias.

Divisions within Islam arose almost as soon as the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) passed away, we divided into two separate sects. From those sects, we divided into separate schools of thought. Why did we separate in the first place? Because we couldn’t decide how the next leader would be chosen. If we can’t be united enough to decide how to choose a leader, how can we unite to actually choose the right leader? We can’t even agree on what the definition of a right leader should be. The conflict has deepened so much that we have Sunnis and Shias killing each other all over the Muslim world. Not since the Middle Ages has the Muslim world been somewhat united. A community divided is a community that falls.

Let’s look at the issues surrounding women who don’t wear hijab vs. women who do. Just because you wear a hijab doesn’t automatically make you a pious, modest woman, and just because you don’t wear a hijab doesn’t mean you are not pious and modest. Many times, women who don’t follow tradition are accused of not really being a Muslim or called to give up their faith. Does anyone ever really accuse a man of not being Muslim or call him to give up his faith even when he has committed the most heinous of crimes? Don’t we still call extremists Muslims even when they stone, rape, and rob while maintaining their long beards and praying with their beads? We don’t because of our patriarchal culture. What a lot of us forget is it is actually a sin to call someone a non-Muslim or kaffir. As a matter of fact, you can’t even call someone of a different religion that because they could have submitted their will to God even better than a practicing Muslim. So, why do we do that to each other when someone does something we don’t like or agree with?

I recently read an article in Marie Claire showing 10 Muslim women with different approaches to fashion. In the article, it stated that it “was time to banish the idea of the oppressed Muslim woman.” The article further stated that the women in the piece asserted their autonomy when they got dressed. This article immediately got slammed by another Muslim blogger from muslimmatters.org because she failed to see the relevance to Muslim women. She felt the article made “Muslim women feel implicated in what is being said.” She went on to say that Marie Claire should stay out of the sociopolitical arena.

I don’t understand where this complaint came from. A Muslim writer wanted to address stereotyping against Muslim women due to their style of dress. Stereotyping exists. Muslim women who wear hijab are judged many times for a variety of reasons. Often, it is the only image we see in the mainstream media. The writer from Marie Claire wanted to address the stereotype within her context by showing the diversity among Muslim women. It wasn’t pointing fingers at anyone. It was just offering a different perspective, which I applaud.

So what do we want, people? Do we want one-note portrayals and complain about those when at the same time, we discredit those who offer another image?

Islam is not in our style of dress, our temperament, or our nationality. It’s in our humanity, and we really need to treat each other with some before we look to anyone else to do that for us.

Until next time… look behind and beyond the veil…

Cultural Shell Games and Media Distractions

social-media-weapons-of-mass-distractionJuly 31, 2015

I enjoy pop culture. For me, it’s mind candy. Half the time, I’m reading and writing about topics I find profound. It’s important to me that I am balanced and able to go from the ethereal to the mundane with ease. For that reason, sometimes I find myself watching E! and Bravo. Yet, I find I can only watch so much because I quickly get fed up with analysis of celebrity feuds, scandals, and other goings-on that are really meaningless in the grand scheme of things. For example, the other day I watched E! news discussing what Kourtney Kardashian’s next move will be after her break-up with Scott Disick. Disregard the fact, that I am this acquainted with these people and what’s going on with their lives, but do I really need the day to day analysis of what their next move is going to be? It doesn’t affect my life, public policy, or the world at large. I had to change the channel.

However, I do understand that some people really enjoy celebrity fare. That’s fine. That being said, when it goes so far as to distract the public from what’s really an issue and really matters, that’s a problem. There are hundreds of examples of nonsensical media tidbits that get way too much attention then what they deserve and are distractions to a public that’s already easily distracted anyway. The one that’s really got me in a whirl is this whole Kylie Jenner/Amandla Stenberg Instagram tiff and the whole misdirected discussion that ensued because of it.

Okay, she’s a white girl that decided to put cornrows in her hair. White girls go to the Caribbean every day and get braids. Who cares? Kylie Jenner is also a teenager who experiments with different looks for her hair all the time. Remember her blue hair for her sister’s wedding? Is she appropriating Jetson space age culture? Should she expect a lawsuit from Hanna-Barbera? Some random commentator wrote #whitegirlsdoitbetter on her picture. That was culturally insensitive and divisive, but Kylie Jenner didn’t say that and just her act of cornrows doesn’t make her those two things.

Let’s talk about real cultural appropriation. Back in the 90’s, you had so many white rappers come out rapping about guns and bling and whatever else that they thought was “gangsta” or “hood.” Meanwhile, they went to prep school and had trust funds. Taking someone’s sometimes harsh reality and pretty much stealing it and pretending it’s yours to make money is disgusting.

Or in the 50’s and 60’s, white artists took songs from black artists and turned them into hits while the black artists who created this music languished in the background. Then, they didn’t even make a quarter of what the white artists made.  Further back, black artists couldn’t be patrons at nightclubs where they would be the performers. To this day, white artists make millions with songs that were done by black artists first. That, to me is more important than Kylie Jenner wearing cornrows.

Now, I understand Amandla Stenberg’s righteous indignation over a traditionally black element of culture showing up in mainstream culture and being labelled innovative and fashion forward. The #whitegirlsdoitbetter comment summarizes how when black girls do something it’s marginalized. Then when white girls do the same thing, it’s high fashion.  Fashion magazines are lauding the pants under the dress trend like it’s new when South Asian women have been doing it for centuries. Now, Indian fashion and textiles have somehow become Boho. Yes, it’s ethnic and marginalized when people within a culture do something, but it’s a movement when it’s moves to white mainstream culture.

However, I don’t agree with telling Kylie Jenner she’s appropriating black culture, and she should use her platform to expose real issues in the community. Firstly, she probably just thought it was a unique way of drawing attention to her wigline. She’s a 17 year old kid who didn’t think something through. Secondly, aren’t there more prominent figures who don’t talk about police brutality and other blatant reminders that racism still exists?

The other domino in this media hyped scenario I don’t agree with is calling Amandla Stenberg a “jackhole” for speaking her mind. I applaud her for standing up for something even if I didn’t agree with everything she said. I respect the perspective from which her comments came. Andy Cohen, like Kylie Jenner didn’t think things through either. He should have kept his mouth shut because he didn’t understand the cultural context. But let’s leave him alone, too because he was head of development of a network that showcases people from walks of life that may not have been seen otherwise. (Muslims and gays, not the Housewives). At the end of the day though, he is a small symptom of the overall lack of awareness of people who don’t face these issues every day.

The media’s focus on this high school tiff between high school age kids takes attention away from real issues. Real issues of racism and oppression, here and all over the world. In many instances, the mainstream media minimizes these issues.

How is it that the burning of one CVS gets media attention in Baltimore after yet another instance of police brutality, but 9 black churches burning in the South is barely mentioned? Or our President has suffered taunts and insults like no other has? How does he get called a liar by a South Carolina Congressman when he didn’t lie, but Bush who actually did lie goes unscathed? Obama should have been given the same respect as president that Bush got, but that just didn’t happen. A brutal occupation is still going on in Gaza that the world continuously shuts its eyes to. Modern day slavery still happens all over the world. Let’s weigh in on those issues and the countless others that really affect our humanity. A social media tiff between two children does not qualify.

What this social media tiff does qualify as is a shell in the cultural shell game that the media plays to divert attention from real issues. The real issue is that ours is a flawed system designed to benefit only a few. It is a system that can only change when people are united and focused. We, as a society are quibbling over the crumbs on the floor and we’re missing the moldy loaf of bread on the table.

Instead of talking about boycotting Bravo, why don’t we boycott companies that take jobs overseas so that they can underpay and exploit non-unionized workers and children? Why do we continue to elect people who disrespect our President and uphold racist and discriminatory policy? Put pressure on our elected officials to support legislation that actually benefits citizens. Instead of preoccupying ourselves with celebrities and what they’re doing or not doing, how about focusing our attention on being proactive for real change?

Stop the shell game, people. Open your eyes.

Until next time… look behind and beyond the veil…

Exchanging Humanity for Politics

human rightsJune 30, 2015

Last week when I was on social media, I happened to see headlines related to the tragic Charleston shooting. I didn’t read about it at first because it was a mass shooting in a church. I saw no need to have even more proof of the infinite capacity of human beings to destroy one another.

Of course, I eventually toughened up and started to read news reports and commentary. The shooter himself told authorities that he shot those nine people “to start a race war” with African-Americans. He stated further, “They’ve taken over the country.”

In lieu of that information, it would seem to be beyond obvious that this young man committed a hate crime and an act of domestic terrorism. Yet, some of our conservative politicians don’t want to admit to the obvious. The Justice Department and the FBI are at odds as to whether or not it was domestic terrorism. At its most basic, this act fits every definition of law related to hate crimes and domestic terrorism. So where is the uncertainty?

Domestic terrorism involves: acts committed that endanger human life, acts intended to coerce a civilian population, and acts that occur in U.S. territory. Murder is a danger to human life. Dylann Roof did say he wanted to start a war, then committed a violent act to do that. He committed this act in South Carolina, which is still the U.S. when last heard.

A hate crime is a violent act intended to hurt or intimidate due to race. Roof said it was because they were African-American. Again, where is the ambiguity?

In the midst of all this overt evidence, our esteemed conservative representatives want to side step race. They don’t want to say this has to do with race when the shooter already said it. When asked directly if it was race-related, Jeb Bush came out and said he didn’t know.

I understand conservative politicians don’t want to upset the sensibilities of their constituencies, but do murderous racists make up the majority of voters? I ask that because that’s what you would have to be to be offended at the statement that the shootings were a racist act, especially when the shooter unequivocally said it was an act based on race.

Another politicized, polarizing symbol is the Confederate flag. There are a number of South Carolina politicians who see nothing wrong with the flag and see it as a separate issue from the shootings. Dylann Roof had Confederate plates on his car. Okay, a Confederate flag is not the cause of a racist, homicidal rampage. However, it doesn’t help to allay the pervasive racism that still exists in the South and all over this country today.

The politicians who have overtly stated they would not agree to take the flag down are all Caucasian. They see it as a piece of history and a homage to South Carolinians who fought and died in the Civil War. A war that was fought to protect slavery under the label of states’ rights.

For many, the Confederate flag is a symbol of slavery and racism. It’s easy to see nothing wrong with it when the legacy of such a brutal institution such as slavery doesn’t affect you. Truth be told, I cringe when I see that flag. To me, it is symbolic of the institutionalized oppression of people based on race. If it makes me cringe, how does it feel for an African-American to see that flag flying in a public place, like the State Capitol that should be a safe haven for all citizens? Doesn’t the State Capitol belong to African-Americans as well? How do you justify discounting them?

Racism still exists in this country, period. The way you combat it is through dialogue and education. Sweeping it under the rug and pretending it doesn’t exist is ludicrous and an obstacle to reach true understanding. A good start would be for an elected official to assert that destructive acts have been committed against and continue to be committed against a large segment of the population. Another step in the right direction is taking down a symbol of hatred and oppression instead of waving it proudly. The lack of action and protecting and applauding symbols that represent past brutality says, “Your lives don’t matter.”  It’s acceptable to send that message over and over again, but it’s not acceptable to call an act “racist” when the perpetrator himself admitted it was racist?

Where’s the humanity? Overshadowed by politics and agenda as it is time and time again.

Until next time…look behind and beyond the veil…

Navigating the Broken Glass of Life

Broken glassJune 23, 2015

A few nights ago, I had an intriguing dream. I was in my house looking around my bedroom. I decided to leave the house for some reason. I walked down my steps and saw my dresser mirror shattered. As I walked around the living room and into the dining room, I saw broken glass everywhere. I stepped around the broken glass. The dream ended before I made it out the door.

My dreams work very much like my thought process does: a series of random ideas that connect in places that most humans don’t think of. A few years ago, I dreamt that a deer was talking to me. Who besides your average 5-year-old dreams of talking animals? In any case, some of my dreams are memorable. Some are not. This one stayed with me because it made me think of all the symbolism inherent in glass, intact and broken.

As an English major and all around literature glutton, I love symbolism. Mirrors are fraught with symbolic meaning. Those closest to us hold up metaphorical mirrors when we need to see what’s important. Of course, the reflection that stares back isn’t exactly what other people are seeing. Sometimes, we see what’s actually there. Sometimes, we don’t. One of my favorite scenes in one of my favorite movies showed the main character, a courtesan, looking into a mirror. Her face is dispassionate as she wipes the mirror down. She sees what’s in the mirror, and she knows she can’t wipe it away. During the film, she tries to change her circumstances and her life. However in the end, she finds she can’t. Her simple act of wiping the mirror down with no emotion on her face at once shows her acceptance of her reality and makes her heroic as opposed to tragic.

Conversely, a broken mirror can mean a distorted self-image or an ending of old habits and ways. It can be a refusal to see things as they are. For some, broken glass or mirrors can mean an ending of something negative, overcoming obstacles.

In my dream, I walked around the broken glass. I knew exactly where to step to avoid getting cuts on my feet. I don’t know if I made it out the door without a cut or a scratch. Given the navigation skills I have accrued in my life, I know I walked out unscathed.

In my life, I have learned where to step without injury. Once or twice, I have been bruised, scratched, and slashed, but it was never anything I could not or did not recover from. I always made it out the door. I always will. Except now, I have to maneuver around less and less glass.

Like the courtesan in the movie, I wipe the mirror accepting my reality. The difference is: I smile at my reality now. There’s no reason not to. I continue to navigate through the broken glass and move on to better realities.

Until next time… look behind and beyond the veil…

The Sin Police

Sin Police blog 3May 7, 2015

“An angel won’t come to your house if you have a dog.” “It’s a sin to eat with your left hand because the devil eats with left hand.” “The Prophet hated women who pluck their eyebrows.” These are just some of the declarations people have made to improve me and make me a better Muslim. Inquisitive rebel that I am, I always have questions. Why is an angel afraid of a dog? Why does the devil need to eat? When the Prophet went to see a sick woman who used to throw trash on him every day, why would he hate a woman who does something that has no effect on him? For that matter, I can’t see him hating anyone.

Furthermore, does a divine, merciful God who created the universe and all things in it really care about trivial matters such as these? Does he care if I paint my nails, cut my hair, or shave my legs? All things I’ve been told could cause me trouble in the afterlife. Plenty of actions I have committed may lead to a bumpy afterlife, but the ones I just mentioned sure as hell aren’t those. Truth be told, I really think the Creator of the Universe does not care, not even a little bit.

So why do people care so much? Why do people give me injunction after injunction when, in my mind, all I’m really doing is breathing? I find many conservative, religious types quick to point out the wrongs people do in everyday things. What someone eats and how they eat, there are rules governing that. The foot I land on when I enter the bathroom and when I leave the bathroom. Someone’s got something to say about that.

Then, there are jinn. One of my favorite topics. For those who are unfamiliar with the Quran, I will give clarification. Jinn are an invisible race of beings made of fire who live among humans, though most never see them.  Some think they live with us in our houses, and we don’t know it. Consequently, I have to be very aware when I go to the bathroom, get undressed, or have the audacity to walk around my own house naked when it’s just me and the dog. There could be a jinn around. Therefore, when I am not seeping my immortal soul deep into the quicksand of sin, I have to be aware of jinn latching on to me or otherwise doing me some sort of harm just for existing in my own space.

Why am I alive then? If everything I do is detrimental to my ambiguous afterlife or a potential catalyst for supernatural mayhem, am I just doomed, in this life and the next?

Here’s a radical concept: I am not doomed. The declaration of faith, the first pillar of Islam states: In the name of Allah, the beneficent, the merciful. The Divine who is beneficent and merciful is not looking to damn me or anyone else.

It is people who damn and doom each other. Anytime someone doesn’t like or agree with what someone else is doing they like to label it sin. I once heard a sermon where the Imam addressed that directly. He told people you can’t call it sin just because you don’t like it. I agreed with him 100% and appreciated useful advice instead of caveats to avoid hellfire.

The Sin Police love to think of themselves as guiding when all they are really doing is judging. Giving someone unsolicited counsel in the matter of religion because you assume they don’t know better is not guidance. It is judgment. It’s also condescension.

It’s also a form of control. Let’s scare the masses, so they will just fall in line like the sheep they are. Religion can be the greatest means of enlightenment in the right hands, but it can also be the greatest yoke in the wrong ones.

Interpretation can be diverse and heterogeneous, just like humans themselves. Most people don’t need to be policed. They need to be guided. The Sin Police can have their interpretation. Sinners, the righteous, and everyone else in between can have theirs. Let us all be guided where we may.

Until next time…look behind and beyond the veil…

Coyote Ugly

Edison CU Coyote

 

May 2, 2015

I love taking my dog, Edison for walks. Sometimes I walk him on the street across from where I live because it is a beautiful neighborhood. Houses of different styles, shapes, and sizes, not cookie cutter style homes you see in a lot of developments these days. Two of the houses have ponds on the edges of their properties. Near one of the ponds, a flock of Canadian geese claim their squatter’s rights. Edison tries to bird dog the geese, but considering it is private property, I don’t let him. This curbing of his natural instincts aside, we both love this walk. It is just a beautiful old school neighborhood.

Apparently, we aren’t the only ones who enjoy the natural views. The other day, I was taking Edison for his usual morning walk. We were meandering on our usual route when we saw a four-legged creature some 200 feet away. Sporting no collar that I could see, it had pointed ears, a bushy tail, and a sly, slithering gait. Clearly, not the run of the mill, neighborhood dog.

This was not the first time I had seen this creature.  Two weeks ago, I saw him sneaking around near a different house, trying to blend in. My first guess was that it was a fox, but the second time I saw him I realized he was too big and too beige to be a fox. I looked at him. He looked at me, and we both went about our business. After further introspection, I realized this intrepid wanderer was a coyote.

My second encounter with Cruiser (the name I have randomly assigned him) was a little more precarious because this time, I had Edison with me. The three of us looked at each other and stopped in our tracks. Edison is a sociable spirit. His inclination was to embark on a doggy meet and greet. My instinct was for the preservation of my dog and myself.

Without sudden movement that could be mistaken for aggression, I steered Edison away from his wild cousin. (Don’t all Indian parents do that?) He didn’t get it at first. With his usual, excited smile, his look said, “Why aren’t we going that way?” I talk to my dog like he’s human, so I verbally said, “We are not going over there because he will f**k you up!” He still didn’t seem to get it, so I repeated, “You don’t understand! He will f**k you up!” I believe my dog read my nervous energy and has heard me say f**k enough times to know that he should go with Mommy on this one.

We continued in the opposite direction. Cruiser was still looking at us. Edison didn’t have a care in the world but I was thinking to myself, “Please god don’t let this animal go after my dog.” Coyote or Chihuahua, I’m not letting anything attack my dog. I didn’t want end up in the emergency room because I got mauled by a coyote. I turned around again and Cruiser was going on his merry way.

I don’t know what Cruiser’s business is in that neighborhood. He’s casing it for something. I don’t know if he has a wife, kids or if he’s on his own just looking for food. As long as he doesn’t try to get Alpha on Edison or make him his next meal, I’ll be cool with him. I won’t go ugly on the coyote.

We’ll just be happy travelers going on our own ways, which is my approach to people in life anyway.

Until next time… look behind and beyond the veil…

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