Wednesday, April 2, 2014


I am sitting on a cold hard concrete bench, watching my 5th grader at batting practice. The field, affectionately dubbed the Dirt Pit, is all red-brown sand, studded with rocks. Many a baseball has taken a hard bounce off of those rocks and whacked an eager ballplayer square in the face. The same faded billboard looms over the field year after year, dark black Arabic script over a faded yellow photo of some sort of frozen chicken dinner. Beyond the fence, just past the outfield, an expanse of green grass that will be yellow-brown by season's end. A concrete block house squats atop the hill. From this distance I hear goats bleating beside the house. A man on a horse trots in lazy circles around the house as children look on from the stoop.

Behind me, what passes for a forest here in this desert kingdom. Stands of grey-green trees line the hilltop, somehow growing out of gaps in the boulders. Decrepit buses full of school kids speed past on the narrow road just outside the field, but the road crests a hill before they reach their destination, and for all the times I've been here at the field, I've never wandered much past that bend in the road. Still so much I haven't seen here.

The sun is setting as a sudden wind kicks up the dirt. The sounds of traffic float up from the highway, mixing with the nearby crack of a bat. I can't see them from here, but I know that just on the other side of the field, a family of camels stands tethered, mamas and babies waiting outside of the bedouin tents that line the highway.

My son Aidan takes his turn at bat as I watch. He was a second grader when we arrived in Amman. He's finishing up 5th grade now, about to enter middle school. He has a girlfriend, though what that word means to a 5th grader, I've no idea - he bought her a necklace last month, so I suppose it's serious.

And I wonder - where did my time here go? I still remember the first time I came to this field. My husband's colleague drove us here on a blistering hot August day in 2010; I wondered back then how long it would take before I could find my own way here.

I've found my own way, yes I have, both here at the field and out in the wide world of Jordan. I've worn my own path in the city. It's been four long years, the longest we've ever been in a place since we were married, but somehow - ready for the cliche? - it seems like only yesterday that we arrived, wide-eyed and shaking with new-post nervousness. It's already time to move on.

Its snowing in Moscow today, snowing there as I sit here and shiver in the 65 degree shade of the Dirt Pit.

I'm not sure I'm ready to leave.


Kelly said... [Reply]

So interesting that you posted this today. I am also melancholy, but I am ready to leave. I am just not sure I am ready to go on to the next place!

JWJones said... [Reply]

Beautifully written. Best of luck with the move to Moscow, and I can't wait to hear about it.

JWJones said... [Reply]
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Beth Zorn said... [Reply]

Ok. Tears again, Donna.

Please. Write your own stuff.