There’s always a time appropriate for
these verses, given the events in Syria, the Central African Republic, South Sudan, and the unchanging human condition. It is safe to predict the forests of humanity will always produce such flowers.
The best introduction to these timeless “flowers” comes from about 1,000 years ago:
Note: the timing of this post is meant to tie in with both
Women’s History Month and the Persian New Year known as Nowruz or Norooz.
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Fritware wall panel now in the Louvre, 1500s-1600s, showing entertainment in a garden (similar to this one at the Victoria and Albert Museum)
The word “paradise” comes from an
old Persian word that means “a walled garden.” The intent of that walled garden, however, was indeed to create an earthly paradise. At the beginning of the Old Testament, Genesis 2 mentions four rivers in the Garden of Eden, so these spaces were traditionally divided into quadrants, known as chahar bagh. In addition, so was the country.
That design sounds formal, and often these areas were courtyards with pavilions and elaborate tile work. You might wonder: what did Persians plant there? Most had rows of trees such as cypresses, sycamores, or date palms, possibly low boxwood hedges, and perhaps sycamores, beeches, lindens, palms, or other trees such as mimosa or redbud at intersecting points or just planted around for shade. But despite its formal tendencies, Read more