|In Orwell's Roses, Rebecca Solnit shares the Etruscan word saeculum, which connotes the “span of time lived by the oldest person present on earth.” Another way to describe it is living memory, or the ways our lives touch the past through those we love and know.
Tracing a line from my grandmother's life to mine, my saeculum clocks in at just over a hundred years, connecting me not only to the past century but to Iran.
Rituals collapse those years, binding us to each other in the here and now.
I haven't always observed the rituals of the Persian New Year. Some years I've forgotten them altogether. At best it's a slapdash effort, a last-minute stop at the Iranian grocery store for a ten-dollar plate of pre-grown greens.
This year, a year of constant tumult in Iran, a year when I’ve never felt closer to the country of my birth, I’ll take better care. I'll soak lentils as my grandmother did. I'll place them by a window, water them, coax the green shoots, conjure hope and love and new beginnings.
With a Perspective, this is Jasmin Darznik.
Jasmin Darznik is a novelist, and professor and chair of the MFA Writing Program at California College of the Arts