The other day I read a story by Ghassan Kanafani, called ستة نسور و طفل(A child and Six Eagles), in which the narrator is a newly appointed teacher who taught in 3 villages. In his way in the old car, there was that rock that was the subject of some folk tales. It’s all about an eagle that was seen standing on the rock in spring time, and when summer comes, the eagle is no longer seen there.
Originally posted on Friday, January 26, 2007 on http://oeliwat.jeeran.com/archive/2007/1/
Everyone in the village had their own version of “the eagle’s story”. Some said the eagle stood there every spring because its mother was killed there. Others say that it was a female eagle, whose “husband” dumped her, so she stood there crying in agony till it dropped dead. Others were more realistic by saying that the eagle used to stand there before the police station was built, then some policeman shot it down. The teacher himself becomes so interested in those stories that he ends up making up his own version. At last, he learns from a child that there was no eagle at all, it was just a cranberry bush, that grows in springs and withers in summer.
Now the story made me think, how real is that? So real. I think it represents the reality that we all take pleasure in denying. I think it varies from one person to another, some people are more realistic than others, but even the realistic ones might fall in this. You know when you think of something in some way, then you start asking yourself why? Then you examine possibilities, and at the end, you come to the final conclusions and it’s the one that appeals to you the most. You then start having doubts, but you cling to your conclusions, eliminating all other possibilities by the slightest shadow of doubt.
After that, when things start to clear up, you see that you were mistaken, and that’s were the shock comes from, especially of you hadn’t prepared yourself before. Sometimes things take long to clear up, and sometimes, you might give up and go on with your life, not wanting to know whether you were wrong or right. You think maybe it’s better this way, keeping it as a nice dream, not wanting to know the truth because it might be so harsh.
I think the problem is when you don’t know whether you’re right or not, but at the same time, you can’t go on with your life, you refuse to, or you just can’t.
I think we all need that “child”. Someone or something that will open your eyes to the truth, in a way that compels you to accept it… You might feel bad for a day, a month, a year, but it’s never than living in illusions for the rest of your life, or finding out you’ve been doing so too late. I don’t know if it’s something to consider or investigate, but I do believe that you should pray to God for this eye opener to come your way. Pray, maybe you’ll get a sign, and when it comes, don’t dismiss it, neglect it or misinterpret it to serve the purpose of your own desire. You know the only idea that helps me accept all this is that, if things didn’t go the way you wanted, then they were never meant to be, and even if you felt bad, you should know for sure that it’s better this way, because God knows best, and you never know what might happen next… Or what could’ve happened if things went the way you dreamed them up. It’s not as bad as you think. Or is it?