Up the hill from the office of the magazine where I work is an empty lot bounded by low concrete walls. Strewn with empty cigarette packs and squashed soda cans, this garbage graveyard is also teeming with tall purple thistles, beautiful in their own spiky way.
Last year, Amman was rated the third ugliest city in the world (second only to Guatemala and Mexico Cities). Taken from a broad perspective, the ubiquitous concrete buildings can be hard on the eyes. But this judgment also is a case of missing the trees for the forest, so to speak: redemptive spaces between buildings, on balconies, and in empty lots are fragrant with herb gardens and jasmine bushes, brightened by fruit trees sporting red, orange, and purple stone fruits, or enlivened by the incorrigible thistle.
*In early October, two months after this post was published, the thistle field was razed to make way for a construction project.