Phoenix

When there is a shortage of souls in the universe, reincarnation offers its service.

As the stars are not just pinholes in the curtain of night, God created me for a purpose: to be the giver, feeder and healer. I derived my name from a sole bird that lived for six hundred years in the Arabian Desert then burned itself and rose again from the ashes, flown in the sky with renewed youth to live through another cycle. Like that bird, my orthodox seed of legend revived over the past.

I am like the immortal highlanders who I always admire while watching them pass by along the centuries. Unlike them, I know where I came from during the dawn of time.

I was well known in Babylon for my strength and majesty. Not only I lived in Mesopotamia but I also traveled to prehistoric Egypt energizing people and offering them what they needed.

Gilgamesh, the epic king of the city of Uruk in 2700 BC had high regard for me, so did Sargon the Great who united the Sumerian city-states in the 23rd century BC. I valued him because he was the first person in history to rule over an empire; the Acadian Empire.

I observed the rise of Hammurabi to be the sixth king of the First Babylonian Dynasty, reigning from 1792 to 1750 BC. I felt sorry that his clerks didn’t notice my recourses, and inscribed his code on a seven-foot basalt stele, which was used to regulate Mesopotamian society.

I attended the popular Roman peristyle courtyard garden and its covered walkway with columns holding up the ceiling, and also the garden of Susa mass wedding of Alexander the Great and his officers in 324 BC.

I witnessed the birth of the Prophet Jesus and helped his mother to endure the pain during labor. In later centuries, I offered some of my assets to commemorate his entry into Jerusalem, during the annual moveable feast.

I am mentioned over 50 times in the Bible and 20 times in the Quran. No wonder, I am in the land “flowing with milk and honey”.

*****

I spend my time watching living creatures in my vicinity. Ants, these six-legged wonders amaze me most. However, sometimes I am bored from standing still.

As I found that I can incarnate into any other being, I decided to live the experience. The name of Ants starts with the letter A, which inspired me to extend the adventure to other beings alphabetically if I enjoy the first one.

Anyway, when there is a shortage of souls in the universe, reincarnation regulates its service. I had to wait until the soul of an Ant freed. When I assumed it, I felt I became very light, fragile and vulnerable. That worried me and had to re-assume my majestic identity to clone myself, just in case. It took a while during which the first Ant’s soul was taken. When I got the soul of a recently died Ant, I left my copy and dived into the quest of being an Ant.

When I transformed, I recalled Surat Al-Naml (The Ant), from Quran verse (27:18) citing “when they came to (the) valley (of) the ants, said an ant, “O ants! Enter your dwellings lest not crush you Suleiman and his hosts while they (do) not perceive.” So I knew Ants understand and communicate, but will I understand their “tongue”? No, I couldn’t perhaps because I was an alien for them.

My first impression wasn’t good finding that I need to cooperate with other “natural” Ants. I had to take part in searching for food, protecting the colony from invaders, constructing expansions, etc. This wasn’t a surprise as I used to watch their harmony in and out of the colonies.

Whereas I am a clone, these communities are families of non-identical members. What surprised me was noticing rebel Ants selfishly starting confrontations. These rebellions exploit the colonies shared resources. Conflicts between workers are also common though not serious because the threat of violence deters them. I found that “cousins” Ants go well together rather than unrelated ones or those from another colony.

The “heartless” behaviors among them have stricken me seeing they do not care about their dead fellows. They just stop and feel the heads to check they are dead then moving on. They are familiar with death, maybe because of the proportion of the deceased to their vast number.

Unintentionally, I made what they considered as a mistake. They showed me an aggressive signal where a group of them surrounded me protruding their antennas and jaws. I apologized and run off them. I concluded that Ant’s carelessness and aggressive behavior do not contradict with their curiosity. I didn’t like that for I used to care though curious. However, Ants taught me the value of hard work. Suleiman the prophet and king said once “Take a lesson from the ants, you lazybones. Learn from their ways and become wise!”

I discovered that my reincarnation adventure was conditional. It lasts for a day-long only. I am back to my majestic identity as a date palm tree, thinking whether to repeat the adventure as a creature whose name starts with the letter B.

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