by Glorianna Ximendaz
In this sensorial essay about a land of olive trees, love and injustice, Glorianna takes us on a journey that connected her to the stories her grandfather told her and to roots that sprout once and again despite a harsh reality
In the year 2012 my grandfather passed away from cancer. Before going into the intensive care unit, we had—perhaps—the most important conversation of our lives, one that left a deep mark on me; after that conversation we would never speak again.
Following that, I decided to embrace a very different direction in my life; years later I would embark on a journey, along with my partner, to the Middle East, Palestine.
For as long as I can remember, my grandfather spoke to me of those Hills, of the olive trees and of his landscapes from another times; when he spoke of this place, his eyes filled with tears, his connection was a powerful, spiritual connection, I would close my eyes and imagine every single one of the details in his stories until I fell asleep.
During our last conversation I asked him a question, what would he do for the last time before he died? He answered two things, one of them was to go to this place.
I decided to go in search of this spiritual connection, to figure out things about my life.
The first encounter left a deep mark on me, I established connections that I hadn’t found before, feelings I hadn’t experienced, it was something powerful and difficult to explain. The second encounter was even more powerful, as if I had been born again. My grandfather always told me that you could be born twice, the first time in flesh and the second one in spirit.
For me it was never clear where I came from, but now I feel I was born again.
I was born again to reconnect with the spirit and with my ancestors, whether we share a blood tie or not.
—Running—amidst a rain of stones and bullets, thinking that is heaven because the environment turns white, but it seems like hell because the air is toxic and heavy. Embracing each other, running, crying, watching bodies fall to the ground while others lift them. Hearing ambulances, screamings, watching onions rain down to fight the tear gases. Those gases that suffocated your friends to death, your loved ones. Those gases that knocked you unconscious where you felt that the color white was the last thing you were going to see.
Watching how the sky turns red and orange, how the ground shakes like an earthquake, like a volcano about to explode, watching the glass tremble without being able to control itself, just like our bodies at dawn listening to explosions that break the sound barriers, that deafen us, while we embrace each other, holding hands, listening to those imaginary thunders inside our guts. We bend down, we say our goodbyes. The scar, which reactivates and unites you with the more than two million trapped beings of light. Only matter debris remains.
Watching how they take away your sister, your brother, your mother, your father, your husband, your wife, your grandfather, your grandmother, your aunt, your uncle, your cousin, your friend. Seeing them for the last time in the arms of the soldiers, yelling at two in the morning without knowing where they are going, the last image, being kidnapped by the army.
Refugees from their own lands waiting to return. Inheriting an unfair history, with strength as the most powerful gene. They cut our trees and tried to bury us, but they did not know we were seeds that would sprout again. Because those roots are stronger than any military.
Blood, they say, pulls you, but energy is what connects us.
Photography & Text
2020. Costa Rica & Palestina
Published in July, 2020
Volume 3 , Issue 7