>> Thursday, October 7, 2010
Checkers of pale gold and soft white fluttering on my skin. Luminously more so when a warm breeze passes. They spill onto the ground, cascading. I stand on a chess board of light. A dazzling sight for anyone who cares to notice. I lay my hands on the cool, rough skin. As if sensing a sign of the minute lives underneath, inside. In a beautifully chaotic procession. The furrows of my palms find respite on the wrinkles and crests of brown darkened by time while I was gone. And away.
I look up but do not squint and marvel at the filigree of green and limbs. Swaying. Waiting. I desired to be with them but my mind, despite the enchantment, pulls back. And wanders off again...
to that sight of a strange fruit, a crowned seductress, a guava. It was so high up. And to a child of six, it was amongst the clouds. It was probably the distance that separated that made the child I was once more resolute to quell the quiet but unignorable stirring inside. In my throat. In my gut. The rotund, yellow green orb of flesh was the first object of my desire. I can still feel the warmth that spread on the insides of my cheeks to this very day. I flung stones, sticks and anything my hands can throw at the fruit but it remained untroubled. What was I to do? Ah, a conundrum of the highest order! But brilliance to a young mind also comes. And to me, it came in the form of the sinewy length of the giant plant. Without a hint of hesitation nor any form of thought, my feet lifted off the ground...I climbed the tree.
My feet curled over each groove they could find. My hands grasped at the limber branches that hoisted me higher. Higher and higher I went. But I was not alone in my journey. Ants marched before my eyes, little feet on a mission. I did not get in their way for I knew even then what they can do. My mother's potted plants were home to them too.
The higher I went, the more natural things felt. The leaves became familiar. Playful in the heavier wind, arching with the boughs and twigs. Their webbed faces caressed mine and, as if eager to please, they perfumed the paths I was traveling - scent so heady and fresh I could have spent the rest of my days up the tree with my eyes closed. Or probably with my eyes wide open for how could I miss that wondrous sight...the jewel that lured me skyward?
And there it was at last, the freckled, rotund drupe. The sheen on its skin bespoke of the succulent flesh that challenged me to devour. But curiously, I felt the craving to possess and consume starting to ebb. Little by little. Like an echo drowning in space until not even a memory of its sound is left. For a moment I was mystified...what was I doing there?
And the answer came to me when I looked around. With the ground far far below, I was free, I was majestic. Like the tree that embraced me. In retrospect, it was my first lesson in metaphors.
My mind wanders back and here I am again. Looking up but not squinting and marveling at the filigree of green and limbs. And with a new metaphor. A metaphor I learned while I was gone. And away. A metaphor about