It’s early summer, and you’re basking in the crisp gusts of a cool breeze, very much characteristic of May in Amman. You close your eyes, allowing your other senses to play.
You listen to the leaves of the silverleaf poplars crashing and swooshing against each other. You take a moment to appreciate the fact that they sound more like tidal waves breaking against the sand than leaves rustling in the wind.
You enjoy the dry licks of the mildly-chilly wind against your naked arms. You chuckle at how the base of your body hairs becomes bumpy as soon as you bring your attention to the cool air. But winter is done, and the air is blanketed in warmth.
You flare out your nostrils, trying to take in the scent of Amman, but you can’t really smell anything distinctive. That’s more a winter thing in your city, when the dusty smell of pine trees and rain overtake the streets.
You open your eyes, and the first thing you see is the silverleaf poplars, twinkling in the sun. Their leaves are the very essence of magic, as they change colors with the wind. Each leaf is distinctively two-sided, one white and one dark. The silver leaves rustle with the gusts, creating the sound of waves as they glisten in the wind.
Greek mythology has it that Heracles himself created the silverleaf poplar at Olympia, when he founded the games. He wore a crown of its leaves when he when he saved Cerberus from Hades. That’s why the upper surface of the silverleaf poplar is dark; they were scalded by Hades’ burning fumes.
The silverleaf poplar is perhaps one of the most beautiful things commonly found in Amman. As we go through the last weeks of winter and as the trees begin to regain their foliage, take a minute to appreciate the beauty of “الحَوْر”.