Learning Tajweed– Again

The Internet is awash in web sites for learning tajweed. I am amazed and impressed, but not tempted to use them. I first learned tajweed the old-fashioned way, by sitting at the foot of a master. Now, I have returned to that method.

My local mosque has begun a tajweed class that meets once a week for two hours.  The Egyptian teacher knows her subject and how to teach it. I look forward to that class. It’s better than nothing but I admit to craving more, needing more.

In Riyadh, I walked to a local madrassa every weekday to attend  a class that began promptly after Asr and ended at Maghreb. The teacher, also Egyptian, taught us not only by explanation but by beautiful example. She would recite, to illustrate the technique she wanted us to learn. She would explain in Arabic. I loved her velvet voice and her determination to teach well. Tajweed needs intensive practice over time. My life in Riyadh offered the perfect milieu in which to learn. Every morning before class, I would review and practice. I learned well.

Twenty years has passed since those golden days of sitting at the foot of a master, and I’ve fallen away from the practice of tajweed. The reasons are many and banal; you can imagine them and you won’t be wrong. Now, however, retired from the necessity of working for money, I’ve decided to resurrect the inspiring and enriching practice of reading the Qur’an with tajweed.

Surprisingly, I have not forgotten all of what I’d learned. I am rusty, to be sure, but the foundation is well-entrenched in my brain and heart. It’s like riding a bike, or swimming. Once you learn thoroughly, you can revive the skill after a hiatus. I look forward to reviving my practice and my skill.

Days at the Lake

Days at the Lake

The lake environment is unlike anything one sees in the Middle East, except perhaps for the tawny ridges of sand at the shoreline. Here in the American Mid-West, hundreds of lakes and trees and wildlife characterize the northern areas of the states bordering Canada, and people go there for back-to-nature vacations.

Thirty years ago, the cottages were small and square, without air-conditioning, TV, or even telephone. Now, full size homes sit where some of the old cottages housed vacationers. Many residents live there year round, and a decent size city has grown up around a central tourist district. My family’s place is located half an hour’s drive from the city, on a tiny peninsula bounded by two large lakes.

We got no publicity whatsoever for the tornado damage. We’re too small! We feel insulted. Well, nature offers many wonders, most of which are more attractive than downed trees, so I’d like to share some of it with you here.

This is my view of the lovely shore, with its sand and plants and rippling water. I never saw the perfection of water lilies until I started photographing them.

I spent most of my time taking pictures, and playing with Photoshop Elements. I brought an instruction book with me, a thick manual on how to use Elements. It’s a big program; I can’t imagine using the full version of Photoshop!

Shoreline Lily PadsThe shore at our place is shallow and full of of plants. Mom alerted me that the lilies had opened; this lily is the most photographed flower on the entire lake, I am sure!

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I couldn’t decide which lily photo to post, so I posted the best of the two dozen. Which one do you like best? I’ve numbered them.

I was surprised to discover large, live snails swaying back and forth with the movement of the water.

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Now that the deck is not available, we found another lovely place to sit– in the shade of this huge evergreen tree, overlooking the lake.  We never considered sitting there before, but I must admit I like it better than the deck. That’s the surprise behind unfortunate events– you sometimes discover new delights.

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The green moss grows in a dense patch along the shore, between the sandy land and the watery grasses. It feels soft under bare feet. The original photograph called for playfulness; the uniform mass of moss seemed boring.

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I don’t know where this reddish color came from– probably a reflection of the sun off the sandy bottom. I love to discover new perspectives, unexpected colors, and remarkable shapes that stand out in photos. Now, after working with these photos, I can go back and view the lake with a more appreciative eye, and a greater sense of thankfulness for Allah’s creation.