Celebrating the Two-Year Anniversary of Our Live Virtual Group Sessions! 6PM EDT March 30th 2022

Thank you for joining us for this session and celebrating the two-year anniversary of our Virtual Group Sessions!

For this session we read an excerpt from Gate A-4 by Naomi Shihab Nye, posted below. 

Our prompt was: “Write about something that can still happen.”

More details will be posted on this session, so check back again!

Participants are warmly encouraged to share what you wrote below (“Leave a Reply”), to keep the conversation going here, bearing in mind that the blog of course is a public space where confidentiality is not assured.

Also, we would love to learn more about your experience of these sessions, so if you’re able, please take the time to fill out a follow-up survey of one to two quick questions!

Please join us for our next session Monday April 4th at 6pm EDT,  with more times listed on our Live Virtual Group Sessions page.


Gate A-4 by, Naomi Shihab Nye

Wandering around the Albuquerque Airport Terminal, after learning
my flight had been delayed four hours, I heard an announcement:
"If anyone in the vicinity of Gate A-4 understands any Arabic, please
come to the gate immediately."

Well—one pauses these days. Gate A-4 was my own gate. I went there.

An older woman in full traditional Palestinian embroidered dress, just
like my grandma wore, was crumpled to the floor, wailing. "Help,"
said the flight agent. "Talk to her. What is her problem? We
told her the flight was going to be late and she did this."

I stooped to put my arm around the woman and spoke haltingly.
"Shu-dow-a, Shu-bid-uck Habibti? Stani schway, Min fadlick, Shu-bit-
se-wee?" The minute she heard any words she knew, however poorly
used, she stopped crying. She thought the flight had been cancelled
entirely. She needed to be in El Paso for major medical treatment the
next day. I said, "No, we're fine, you'll get there, just later, who is
picking you up? Let's call him."

We called her son, I spoke with him in English. I told him I would
stay with his mother till we got on the plane and ride next to
her. She talked to him. Then we called her other sons just
for the fun of it. Then we called my dad and he and she spoke for a while
in Arabic and found out of course they had ten shared friends. Then I
thought just for the heck of it why not call some Palestinian poets I know
and let them chat with her? This all took up two hours.

She was laughing a lot by then. Telling of her life, patting my knee,
answering questions. She had pulled a sack of homemade mamool
cookies—little powdered sugar crumbly mounds stuffed with dates and
nuts—from her bag—and was offering them to all the women at the gate.
To my amazement, not a single woman declined one. It was like a
sacrament. The traveler from Argentina, the mom from California, the
lovely woman from Laredo—we were all covered with the same powdered
sugar. And smiling. There is no better cookie.

And then the airline broke out free apple juice from huge coolers and two
little girls from our flight ran around serving it and they
were covered with powdered sugar, too. And I noticed my new best friend—
by now we were holding hands—had a potted plant poking out of her bag,
some medicinal thing, with green furry leaves. Such an old country tradi-
tion. Always carry a plant. Always stay rooted to somewhere.

And I looked around that gate of late and weary ones and I thought, This
is the world I want to live in. The shared world. Not a single person in that
gate—once the crying of confusion stopped—seemed apprehensive about
any other person. They took the cookies. I wanted to hug all those other women, too.

This can still happen anywhere. Not everything is lost.

Naomi Shihab Nye, “Gate A-4” from Honeybee. Copyright © 2008 by Naomi Shihab Nye

5 thoughts on “Celebrating the Two-Year Anniversary of Our Live Virtual Group Sessions! 6PM EDT March 30th 2022

  1. About something that can still happen~~~

    I am rooted in Nature, it is my anchor.
    When the world is spinning too fast,
    when the words of hate and despair are flooding the airwaves,
    I go out into Nature to find my respite.

    Mother Earth supplies all that I need… its cool breezes, blue skies, songbirds singing.
    The gurgling stream washes away the confusion in my mind.
    Grandfather Sycamore tree, who has stood proudly for over 100 years, gives me the courage to persevere.

    If only we all would stop to listen, to look about us,
    and find solace in the simple pleasures that lie before us.
    I pray this will come to be someday.

    Like

  2. Elizabeth

    Before I write my response to the prompt, I just wanted to say that I always have loved this poem. It brings a smile to my face and touches my heart. Thank you for all the sessions. I have much gratitude for the facilitators and everyone who contributes.

    Like

  3. Elizabeth

    Something that can still happen…

    It can get better.
    What can?
    Anything.
    When?
    Anytime.
    Under what circumstances?
    In any situation.
    How?
    Through a shift in mindset or action.
    Are you being hopeful?
    At the moment, yes.
    Did you always feel this way?
    No.
    How did it change?
    Right now I am in this moment

    …..And I decided this moment is good.

    Like

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