Thursday, September 23, 2010
I Don't Need No Sixth Sense When These Five Are Treatin Me Just Fine
I watched the moonrise tonight. It was well before any of you in the Northern Hemisphere will have seen her. I know when to step out onto my veranda to watch-and it begins when the sun has descended beyond the hut-peppered horizon, leaving in its wake a pure, diluted orange that bleeds almost immediately into a watery sky blue. Tonight in our first encounter she took me by surprise, what with her sheer brillance and audacity, ascending the opposite horizon and overtaking any tree who served to obstruct her view. On my porch in the dark, before I'd turned on any lights, I wanted to be alone with the moon and her greeting of the night. I focused and I focused. I focused so hard that it was as if I was willing her to speak. Don't focus on the Tanzanian pop blasting a few doors down, I said to myself. Don't think about the fact that your butt aches on this chair. Don't listen to that ear-splitting child's scream next door. Don't worry about what you'll make for dinner tonight, I thought. This was the only quiet part of my day, and in a land in which I am a local celebrity by virtue of my skin color, the only spotlight I wanted was what the moon had been providing. I focused so hard that it was if the rest of the world had been reduced to sepia tones, flickering as a whole in and out of my peripheral vision and hers was the only color I saw. A light yellow, so vague that it was just a notch below white on the dial you'd use to alter hues on MS Paint. It was the identical twin of the non-threatening yellow of a baby chicken trailing behind its mother, if in fact this chick was...glowing. Indeed I wanted to make this conversation with my celestial friend last all evening, but as the pain in my behind continued in spite of re-positioning and the hollows of my stomach caused it to rumble and moan, I chose to say farewell, knowing that fortunately such circumstances of simple beauty happen at an increasing rate here. Everything just seems so much more vivid in Africa. I don't know if it's the sun seemingly being closer to Earth here or the heat that amplifies, but every one of my senses has gone into overdrive. It's as though my maker has opened the file Saraslife.jpg into photoshop and turned up the saturation to 90. Fine by me! The ocean is blinding in an incandescent field of diamonds as I pass by on the bus. On Sundays when I stand in it out by the jagged rocks housing white egrets, the sea-glass enriched sand below seems encased in a gelatinous mold tinted in very obvious turquoise up to the very top. The rooster that wakes me each dawn has feathers so reflective of indigo, rusted orange and deep forest green that it makes me almost not want to despise it. When I trek from neighborhood to neighborhood, the pungent scent of lives lived stacked on top of one another pervades my nose and it's only after I bypass the grease-burned streetfood and mushy bananas for the unsanitary smells of poverty and squalor that I wish the dial could be turned down a tad. But the hyper-saturation is incessant and mercilessly doesn't stop with my nose or eyes. The throbbing in my legs and the fuzziness in my mouth after a non-stop day of doing home visits is only overshadowed by the burning, raw and tight sensation felt on my reddened face and arms. All is washed away however, once taking a shower in what I deem each time as The Best Shower of My Life. Each day I walk home in a box of 200 fully-sharpened Crayola crayons where Cerulean glistens to my left and my feet are covered in Burnt Sienna. But it's all ok because tonight I'll have a chat with the moon.