The afternoon light is gradually fading. Winter will soon be at an end and the days are longer than they were last month; so why is the room dark at four o’clock in the afternoon? Could it be possible that the rain clouds are approaching?
I go to the balcony and look up at the sky. It is vast and high, and as blue as can be. There is something about the hues of the sky- it cannot be perfectly interpreted in word or picture. But then, few of nature’s glories can be. Masses of clouds float across lazily, brushed by a surprisingly nippy breeze. The sun has gone into hiding. In the distance, a thin layer of grey seems to have spread across a considerable portion of sky- a promise of rain?
It is not all clear overhead. Among the seemingly white clouds lingers a single, detached, flimsy wisp, almost imperceptibly grey. It blends with the white and the blue, but is nevertheless there. It flits about, an ugly duckling among the swans. There is no discrimination here, however. Some day, it will serve its purppose, by being a blessing to some parched bit of land. As of now, it floats endlessly in search of its destination. Take your eyes away from it for a moment, and it is gone.
School hasn’t yet let off, but a handful of young children are already out on the road with their mothers, walking homeward. But can they ever walk straight home? They wander about, picking up twigs and pebbles, shouting out to one another, casting alternating glances at the candy shop and their mothers. Empty water bottles, heavy bags, plastic baskets with empty lunch boxes- now that school is over, these things are the mothers’ burden, perhaps rightly so. For what is of more importance to any soul than the delicious feeling of new, hard-earned liberty, more so when it is the soul of a child who has just been released from the fetters of insipid lessons in a gloomy classroom? Surely, there is much more to learn under the open skies, with the wind, the sunshine and the rain for company.
I try looking for birds. A terribly bad idea in the city, among garishly coloured boxes of concrete. All I manage to see is a flock of five crows, flying up to perch atop the branches of a tree in a courtyard across the street. Why don’t they choose the trees on the hill, where the clouds sit, the wind sings and there is more freedom than in the midst of human settlements? I heard the welcome sound of birdsong the other day, in a street rather well lined with trees on both sides. The sun peered through the branches, green-touched rays shining warmly through the foliage. Few sights are as brilliant as that of soft sunlight carving its way through the branches of trees and kissing the earth. I like watching slivers of sunlight on the roof as it makes its way through open windows; the play of sunlight on water reflected in small, rippling waves on walls.
The sun is capable of much beauty, but my loyalties lie with the rain. It is inexplicable, but a gloomy day outside raises my spirits and gives me hope. It is probably a result of living in the tropics. I’m not sure a person living in England or the northeast would subscribe to my opinions.
The wind has died down and the sky doesn’t seem to have darkened much as yet. I shall wait for the rain, however. It gives me hope, something to look forward to; much needed respite in a world where everything else talked of is sickeningly controversial or ugly.