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The Box up the Stairs, Part Two: The Oak at Pop Stand Ur

July 22, 2009

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At Al-Qurna, Iraq, ten miles north of Ur and within mortar-hailing distance of Iran, at the very confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, a plaque explains a chunk of driftwood in a reliquary next to an abandoned pop machine. The plaque reads,

Adam’s Tree

In this holy spot where the Tigris meets Euphrates the holy tree of our father Adam grew symbolizing the Garden of Eden on Earth.

Abraham prayed here 2000 years BC

My husband took a slide of this very plaque, pop stand, and reliquary in 1984. We expect soon to acquire a slide scanner, and then I will be able to illustrate the vignettes of The Box up the Stairs. In the meantime, I will aspire to illustrate with words.

While traveling between Basra and Baghdad, my husband stopped at Ur, where he was given to understand that an Arabic legend has it that, when Abraham blew Pop Stand Ur, he planted the oak tree known as Abraham’s Oak, to commemorate Father Adam and the Garden of Eden. Little remains of the oak, but as relics go, it is well curated. I have no idea how many people venture to see Abraham’s Oak each year, but I suspect it was not a very hot attraction during the shelling.

The prevailing biblical theme evident in nearly all of Vic’s photos of Iraq is “dust unto dust.”

Wind chases dust between windows and faces.

Coming soon: another vignette from The Box up the Stairs

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