The coming of the dry season

June 14, 2014

The winds have finally changed direction. They now blow from the East. I can almost sense the hot sweltering dry heat of Africa brushing against my cheeks. It’s just a hint….a suggestion….but it’s all there…Africa.

Yes, these winds have travelled from afar. They are many winds in this one wind that blows hard from the east…I know them all intimately like lovers from some distant past in another life. It’s as if, the endless winds of Africa are calling out through an ocean of time. Yes…I remember and soon sepia images flash through my mind eye…beginning with the hypnotic sway of endless fields of reeds across the savannah…with the gambezi murmuring in the background like the rhythmic beat of a mother’s womb…whomp pah pah…whomp pah pah..the mountain shadows and how it makes my skin turn bluish like only the color of lapis lazura can….reminding me of a foreign language one suddenly comes across while walking on a crowded pavement. I say myself, I know this tongue. I turn back suddenly, but it’s gone…snatched away by another wind. All that remains is a whispering hush to some distant memory buried deep…so deep, yet I know almost instinctively like the way child knows his mothers smell….the fragile scent of water hysins that blow thru the sea of purple of the Okavango Delta..to the winds that blow from the papyrus sea through the fluted salt scented mountain ranges along Angola before breaking into rains into the sands of the Kalahari.

And of course who can forget the Mara…that murmuring wind like a siren’s call that all legionaires know of only too well. As it leads them astray into the empire of the bones of the Sahara…and the laughable way in which they would all break out in The Legion song “La Fanion” to hold the line…the best, they can.

On a mauvaise réputation,
Mais on s’en fout comme d’une musette
On est fiers d’être à la Légion, à la legion.

Then of course there is that other wind the Bedioun only speak of after uttering the opening lines of the Quran to protect them against malevolent spirits…but never before loosing two shots from their 303 rifles into the desert air….one to curse her…the other to offer supplication to appease her…always two shots. I hear them ripple rents across the infinity of this ocean of time.

A wind so evil that a mad sultan even once declared jihad on her and marched out with armored elephants and endless row of pikemen…the Harmattan…the dreaded ochre colored dust wind sailors in the Coite de Noire call the sea of blood as it stains everything red…I remember elephants with red trunks…Rhinos with their gun metal skin shimmering in the mid day sun with splotches of rust…they all once made me laugh reminding me of some battleship of lore I had once seen in a picture book in a shop in Kampala.

The whopping winds of the Amboseli which remind me of an owl’s flight on a moonless night…whop…whop…whop….winds that have the primal power make all the wild animals in the Kalahari restless…a roar of the male lion rents out somewhere in some distant corner of my head. I wonder to myself did the winds make him rouse from his lair. A leopards nervous cough as he glides through the dark in anticipation…Hyenas calling out with their chilled mocking laughter followed by the grunts of the feeding hippo as if some primal force beckons them…from deep within…but it is only her…the wind.

Above all I remember the solitary figure of the man who wears knee high riding boots and sports a shouldered holstered revolver standing like a solitary tongue of light in darkness. No…I see the curious number eleven…yes, another other man is with him. A tall Matabili ebony framed body guard who carries a spear. They both make that number whenever they stand together. They’re on the run. But as the long as the moment last, they both seem transfixed on the aching beauty of the plains – that is not unusual as it is the hour of hesitation just before the light gives in to the velvety night when the whole valley takes on a Currelean patina like the bottle green of Olives….they had just fought a skirmish. The thick smell of cordite lingers in the air. A burnt out column of tanks scar distant horizon. A scene from another age…another time…another life of the many men in a man and soon even that faint image in my minds eye is snatched away like a falcon talons leaving only the present and the portents for the future, like the words of some poem written in some dead and forgotten language that only he can decipher….the infinite man….and no one else…the seasons have changed.

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