August 12th, 2009

Wandering Star

Moon photo shamelessly lifted from Google Images

At four-forty-five yesterday morning in the darkness I went outside on the stoop and looked up. I caught sight of a medium-to-large bright star that was moving slowly along, in a direction from directly above to the eastern horizon, and I thought it was a satellite. But then after a few moments it seemed to slow down somewhat, which a satellite just doesn’t ever do, and then it seemed to wobble a bit, departing the straight course it was following.

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The Well of the Leaf, Jerusalem

The story says that in the days of Omar, one of the faithful pilgrims came to this well to draw water. His bucket fell to the bottom, and he went down to get it. To his great surprise, a door opened before him, and he found himself in beautiful fragrant gardens, in which he walked for some time with great satisfaction.

Before leaving this delightful place he plucked a leaf from one of the many trees, stuck it behind his ear, and so ascended to the upper earth without difficulty, but there is no record of whether he brought his bucket up or not.

Of course, the story spread, till at last it reached the ears of Omar, but only as an impudent invention, for no door could be found by any investigating travelers. Omar, however, treated the rumor with respect, and said there was a prophecy that one of the faithful should enter Paradise alive. Everything depended on whether the leaf retained its verdure, and so could maintain its claim to have grown upon a tree of Paradise.

This test was triumphantly passed, for the leaf was green as ever, and so the story has lived to this day, and so it is always told on the brink of the “Well of the Leaf.”

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