An Evening’s Calm
As the day is almost over, I ponder what I have done in the past and most immediate hours. Time enough has passed between the early rays of the dawn’s sun, the grueling midday chaos, and the stamina that permitted me to discern the afternoon’s trying soul. Though I am relieved to be in the safeguard of home and well beyond the heat and energy of today, which made me sweat, I cannot feel contentment in this cool house. Something is stirring outside, coming from the direction of the Youth Development Center, which I cannot pass up. Resulting from the thumping of music coming from the Development Center, are thoughts of the finite nature of the year in South Africa, nonetheless the thought of a mere six months. Six more months to be with this Masealama community is, by any measure of time, a blink of an eye.
Besides, what would Jesus do? Sit on his butt and let the time go by? Something I am all too good at doing some days. No, I think he would encourage me to get back out there and spend more time with those kids. Dang. There goes my restful time of recuperation and lounging on the sofa. Awe, man! Just a few more minutes?
The thought of going forth without inquiring into the current ruckus amongst the community bogs my mind. Comfortable as I may be, as much as I value quiet time of reflection, I must fulfill this one more requirement of the day.
Masealama’s people, its sounds, its tastes, its smells, and its colors dominate the motivation that uplifts my spirit to seek one thing more from this day. The dazzling and subtle purple of the thousands of flowers of the jacaranda trees, reds and blues from countless other flowering bushes, the smell of those flowers combines with the fresh rain and the muddy African earth, the cinder block homes that line the footpath and gravel road where families spend numerous hours, and the sounds of the clucking of chickens, bleats of goats, moos of cows, and a few dozen children playing child games and passing joy to one another makes me nostalgic for this place. Wait, I haven’t even left yet. Wait, I eventually have to leave? How will I ever do that?
Enough worrying! Back to today. Leftover heat from the mellowed and now setting sun gently beams down upon the scorched earth, just as a stove clings to its heat long after use. The power of the midday sun, now long past, is most visibly apparent through the brown and rust red color of the dirt. What the hemlock could do that to the earth, anyway? Oh my, do we ever have a powerful sun. Amazingly and ironically, that same sun that has abused and scorched the earth has given birth to the green of life, which springs up from the lifeblood of the earth during this rainy season. Energy from the sun sets the biological emerald green of plant life against the red earth and the wafts of oranges, pinks, blues and purples from the evening sky. Awe man, I have to leave someday? What a bunch of crud… meeeehhh (sound of my pouting). 😦
“Seriously, enough worrying. It’s beginning to make me sick.” I say. “Wait a tick, am I going crazy?” I say back. “No, it’s okay, I just talk to myself on occasion. And by occasion I mean whenever I walk anywhere by myself. People here probably think I’m slightly crazy, though” my other half comments in a slight humorous tone. “Oh, okay. Comes with the territory of being the only Mlungu (white person) in the village. Got to talk to myself once in a while. Keeps me healthy, you know” I say back to myself in agreement.
Again, back to the waning day at hand. After an hour or two of struggling at volleyball, getting into fake arguments and fights with older youths, all in good fun mind you, and dancing to house and techno music with a hundred other youth, the sun has finally sunk below the hills. Time to go home and settle in after a rather tiresome day. Evening’s calm has gripped me into a state of serenity and exhaustion. I am at peace, though not without feeling the weight of the day on my eyelids. Eish, I’m tired.
Peering into the tops of the nearby mountains directly to the north, which are orange with the setting sun, with a plate of spaghetti, salad, and a glass of pinotage at hand, finally has me relaxed and at ease. What a day. “You know, this place isn’t all that bad. May even be one of my favorite places”, I think to myself as the cusp of evening chill sends a shiver down my spine. I take another sip of pinotage to keep warm and sigh in satisfaction.
“Awe man, a stinkin’ bug landed in my glass!” I exclaim. “Comes with the territory”, my other half jokes.