Deep Waters: Where the Nile Meets Memory (Memoir, Creative Writing)
Note: “Midnight Nile” is not only my cousin, but a sister to me. I interviewed Midnightnile for the blog. Peace~ In Our Hearts
The Nile is the longest river in the world, flowing through Africa though its source remains unknown. There are two great branches of the Nile: the Blue Nile and the White Nile. The word “Nile” is Arabic in origin and means “river valley”. In ancient Egyptian language, the Nile is referred to as iteru meaning “great river”.
The Nile river holds a special significance for Midnight Nile, who has always been drawn to Africa, and its people. Many a time, Midnightnile crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge, and gazed down into the honey colored water of the Alabama river and wondered what life was like on the other side of the world, where the mysterious Nile wound through a dusty land. A land similar to Selma’s dry horizons and deep crimson soil.
Midnight Nile wondered about the stories of the Egyptian Nile, whose currents fostered the growth of humanity from its ancient roots to its modern development. She felt kin to Africa, though she could not name what was lost in her own ancestry–from the slaveships and the plantations that sought to deny the enslaved Africans of their identity, their memories, a spark remained. A spark that tossed across the barren deserts, slipping through iron shackles in the holds of lurching slaveships, a spark survived, waiting to be kindled. The spark endured as subtle remembrance that Midnight Nile caught hold of, embraced. Looking down on the Alabama river, Midnight Nile thought of her own stories, and within them was an inner source of determination and insight, and place that once touched seemed to warm her body.
A dream came true for Midnight Nile, when she was able to make the journey to Africa. Midnight Nile felt such a strong sense of kinship to Africa and its people that her soul seemed to be at peace once she stepped foot on the dusty soil, and peace would remain long after she returned home. From that journey, she felt restored–perhaps she had found a resolution not only for her own self discovery but for an ancient wound as well?
Midnight Nile fondly recalls spending New Year’s Eve on the shore of the Nile, dancing and feasting with new friends she had made. Platters of fish stew, fruit and golden bread were served among hugs, and blessings for the New Year. A smile plays at the corner of Midnight Nile’s lips, as she chuckles about the baboon walking down the road; how he strutted his hairy chest as if he were a celebrity. On this journey, Midnight Nile traveled from the Sahara to the Ivory Coast, following the Nile.
Midnight Nile learned so much in Africa, experienced a world unknown to most Americans. She felt a calling to write about her travels and reflections, to use what she learned to help others. Midnight Nile was writing a poem, one day, at her computer when something surprising happened: her writing began to flow, just as the Nile, branching off into dry deserts needing to be nurtured. Midnight Nile found herself writing prayers, stories from our family, poetry and powerful commentary on society. Through the written word, she found a way to create a legacy for all that had been lost in our family. Her journey to Africa had instilled Mid Nightnile with a deep sense of purpose yet in many ways she felt the journey had just begun, and was just as mysterious as the source of the Nile itself.
Entry filed under: Crazy Quilt: Writings & Reflections, Letters to My Kids, Misc: The Family Quilt. Tags: alabama families, creative writing, discovery, family, family history, kin, memoir, nile, passing on family stories, reflections, stories, travel.