teaching. lanugage. travel
Browning tar, a rote of car zoom noises around my window. The sun sets in a distance, a lot earlier than before, to a now conditioned amazement. Afternoon and night share a neighbourly block on the street of a dying year. Tick, tock, the clock hand counts the moments again in memories of times gone before. At a different time but in a similar pose, time counted down. The geese quacked. The refrigerator hummed creaky tunes in the middle of night. Ice formed into layers of sweat balls around the glass, and everything else stayed still.
The world has not changed since then, or has it? Many months of movements follow each other in steps of ease, and texts, and work, and revolts. And here we are, another winter, another dark evening at four o’ clock. It is a short remove from those quiet times, just two years ago, in the sober remove of a rustic village, but here it is. A year winds down with the last paces of its easing rote, crank and all.
This is how to freeze: move from a tropical town in an African country to live in a part of town in America where four inches of snow and (up to) minus ten degrees of cold is never enough to close the school even for one day. Have a series of clothes that will look a little weird when stacked upon another in a fashion meant just to defy the weather. Have a series of apartment mates whose idea of a hot temperature on the house heater is different from yours. Have classes that take place in the evenings when it is usually the coldest. Lastly, well, be thin enough to let into your chest all the cold air that blows. Be restless. Resent all the fatty American-style food that, even though may be junk – sometimes have what’s required to battle cold: fat.
The result is usually the same: a week or more of terrible flu, discomfort, and bed rest. And after a while, and plenty of fluids, and sometimes after breaking one’s promise never to dabble into American medication for worry about ever present contraindications, one is back up again. It also helps to have lost one of one’s pair of gloves.
PS: Clarissa seems to have had it worse than me. Please give her some love.
Soft floury flakes drown the land for as far as eyes can see. It was night, hours after the brightness of day had already packed up into the soft bosom of the sky. Flakes, snow flakes like the luminous slivers from heaven’s dinner table, fill the land with a breath of steam. One year ago as I walked out into the night under a snowing sky, I had wondered at how nice it all looked falling down with deliberate steadiness. It was the beginning of a new season and I remembered Jim Reeves. It was also the beginning of a new experience that brought with it the pleasure of seeing the world wearing a different look. I would get bored from it after a while, but the novelty was always quite unquantifiable. I would whip my camera out and start shooting.
It snowed all through the night, and I woke up with the whole ground covered in fluffs of white and muck. White when the snow resisted all attempts to put its glory under the rubber of the car tyres, and mucky when technology succeeded and trampled it under dark and merciless feet. It is not yet Christmas, but the face of the season is now irredeemably changed. I remember another memory from movies of youth and the overwhelming thought of how nice it must be to live where it snows all year around. If only one could live in such a place, how nice would it be – with lights, snowmen, Christmas trees, and long open land of white.
I may tire of seeing white in a few weeks, but I won’t lose the pleasant feeling that comes with the season of fluorescence.