Reflecting on Ruins

I was often contemplative during my childhood.  If I was with other children, I played with them just as they played.  But everything was an occasion for contemplation, in which I excelled them.  If none of the children were with me, I would begin to contemplate and reflect.  I would gaze on ruins and crumbled walls and meditate on them, saying to myself, “This used to be a building, then it was destroyed.”  I wept when I recalled its inhabitants and how they had prospered.  I wept a great deal.

Shaykh Ahmad al-Ahsa’i, Sira Dhatiyya (Autobiography).  Excerpted in Shams Hajar, 39.

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