I am underneath the arms of the giant tree. The long limbs bow down to greet me with all the love and hospitality of the south. Its limbs hugging the ground invite me to sidle up to gain proximity to someone who holds 1400 years of wisdom.
This tree is called “The angel oak” and stays firmly rooted into the South Carolina soil holding on to the history that has soaked into its roots. It is a live oak, with its branches giving each other the “sandwich hug” exuding affection in the static state.
A few feet away from it sits an artist who is painting the tree and right on one of its main branches is a fine small splash of white.
“It’s an albino squirrel he explains, it arrives every day around 9 and stays till 10 but it wont last long”
“What do you mean” I ask. “It is too prominent and is easily spottable to the predators who have a hey day here”
“Why is she more vulnerable than others?” asks my companion.
“There are so many brown squirrels here but they blend into the wood” he pauses as he thinks of her and shakes his head…”she stands out too much but………” he stops with a certainty filled with regret. “ She thinks she is brown”
His sentence hits me between the eyes. I see myself in a horde of white squirrels and me brown as a macadamia nut on that tree trunk. Reversing the situation he has just described with the white squirrel, I am the symbolic white squirrel in a community of brown ones. Color, faith and gender: I stand out on all three,
My hijab a flag, my demeanor and my color proclaiming my “otherness “a sure target for any predator passing by. Yet I think of myself as one of them
Allah Subhanawataala is the final protector and maintainer. When those whom he has designated this job on earth become tardy, He steps in to protect whom he has deemed deserving of protection. No predator can overcome his protection.
Thus like the white squirrel on the brown tree…………… I seek and invoke his protection.
I look at the spot on the aged trunk of the tree where she sits every morning, and wonder when she no longer occupies the spot, will she be missed?