In March of 2019, I arrived at LaGuardia New York airport. While traveling in Africa, we heard the reports of a virus causing serious concern. It was made quite clear to us, the degree of seriousness when the customs official said, “you just made it, a few hours short before the possibility of quarantine”. I recall having a sigh of relief. However, not really understanding to what degree this would impact the world. We all have someone who transitioned as a result of the virus.
After returning home and checking my email, it was clear to me that something was really happening. I was informed that the building that I worked in was closed indefinitely. My contract was canceled. The first two weeks, not so bad. I stayed home resting after a strenuous traveling. By the thirty day mark, I experienced, anxiety, depression, discomfort, fear, financial loss and compromised freedom. My experience was unfortunately not unusual.
This was a continuous existence for the enslaved African-Americans for 400 years. Not knowing, not trusting, not feeling safe and experiencing death and the threat of death. I took comfort and strength being close the trees. I imagine the strength and character of our people. What I was experiencing was a fraction of what our people withstood. The trees the beauty of the park was my therapy, ease in the difficult time of COVID.
I’ve learned from my past situations that art is healing and very therapeutic. My life line, the beautiful park designed by The Designer is a gift. In Sitting Under the Tree, I’m humbly sharing some of my reflections with you the reader. This book is published with the intent to generate a dialogue. Please place it on your coffee table or in a special place for family and friends to enjoy. Thank you for letting my poetic pieces into your mind and physical space. I pray this experience is of benefit and is received positively by your soul.
The message is carried through the hands of the Quilters –
On the surface a warming comfort of love –
As you look deep into the masterful, details throughout the fabric it speaks to your soul –
Colors, geometric lines and symmetries, a beautiful work of art –
Adorning the landscapes hanging on the clothing wash line –
Sending prophetic messages a parallel to the Horn of Gabriel –
Like the African drummers, the quilter speaks and communicates from the soul –
Excerpt from Sitting Under the Tree, Poem #1
Publisher: Laila Muhammad
Dimensions: 7.5in x 7.5 in
Forward: Sara Hamadan, MA, Community Organizer
Design & Illustration: Chris Matusek, MFA
Printing: First Printing
Copyright © 2022 by Laila Muhammad