A child’s sweet burden

 

Sugar cane Robert Chisanga

 

Maize

There were many incidences when life should have told me that I had no leading role to play, and yet as you will see from my story, there hardly ever was another player under the spotlight. I was singularly different. Being different was like owning an empty space, a kind of internal bush clearing that defined me, that separated me from the common forest pulse. Being a child in that lonely metaphorical bush clearing of obscurity and self-assumed alienation, I was forced to find my own drum to beat. In a strange way, I was happy – in the end familiarity breeds comfortability.

Children carry a lot of the adult burden: rules, restrictions, societal likes and dislikes; all shifting cargoes that tax their free-spirited little shoulders, and for which they are given little credit or respect. I know this: Acclaim was not given for my great mythological battles singlehandedly lost and won.

This book is as a result of a swelling urge within me to question the realness of that bush clearing within me, and my never-ending awareness of it throughout my childhood. It was my quirk, my tic; a pang of hidden knowingness; an urgency of spaced being within me.

Allan Taylor, author, Luanshya musings

Africa sends you love today

Wow facts

Wow facts

Refractions of inner light – an awareness of love

Love is a building block of an awareness that we ‘are’. We would not build upon our conscious awareness without the focused desire to be ‘one’ with someone – those are the mechanics of attraction that we loosely call love.  Without the first grain of love to build upon, our awareness, which is a wide open facet of our Soul, would drift quietly away from us in haphazard detachment and indifference. In such a vague state of existence we would not be given the chance of physical and cognitive growth in the swirl of universal happenings.

If our emotions are the signposts of our wants and dis-wants and our affinities are our compass, then love is the spiritual route map of our Soul purpose. We are love, we are joy; we are peace.

Allan Taylor, author, Luanshya musings

Fire on a tinder dry vlei

Deaprojekt Die Welt der Puppen

Deaprojekt Die Welt der Puppen

Black ash, bruised light, broken sound in a shocked stillness – was there anything good left behind? Yes: black is the charcoaled colour of purification. There is a surreal snowstorm of twirling black leaf forms returning to the vlei: an uncanny backdrop for the cattle egrets, undertakers dressed in white, with bowed heads and feathered hands clasped behind their backs. They stoically perform high-stepped funeral marches across the carpets of ash, collecting all the dead bodies: crisp grasshoppers, heat-bloated ticks, and toasted centipedes. They leave the shrivelled remains of baby toads, field mice and weaver chicks for the ever-watchful hawks that hover above this al fresco open grill. Is that the marabou stork, the ignominious king of carrion? With his naked head, puce air sac, cracked and peeling beak, and long ashen legs, he looks as if he has been scorched himself; but it is his funeral finery. He is in fine fettle to carry away the larger mammalian, and reptilian carcasses. If they aren’t quite dead, they soon will be – a sharp beak protrudes from below his rapacious eyes.

Allan Taylor, author Luanshya musings

Pod mahogany

Pod mahogany

 

I thought it strange that I had never before seen what was in his garden, the biggest anthill I had ever seen. Surely I would have noticed it before. It took up most of his front garden. Maybe it wasn’t there before, maybe it was somewhere else, but it was certainly there now. Could anthills shift their shape? It also had the largest pod mahogany tree that I had ever seen growing out of its crown. Were both the anthill and the pod mahogany apparitions in incarnate form?

My second postulation was that a pod mahogany seed had been brought to both anthills in a traditional necklace as part of a burial ritual. I had always felt lucky that I had a pod mahogany growing on my anthill, double lucky because the pod mahogany is also known as the inkehli lucky bean tree. It produces hard, black seeds with a bright red wattle like the ground hornbill. The Ndebele women of Matabeleland used lucky beans in tribal necklaces, especially for the unbetrothed. Maybe an Ndebele woman had died young, and had been buried in my anthill, whereupon a pod mahogany seed from her funeral adornment had grown in honour of her spirit. This would make this magnificent tree on my anthill all the more special, but surely this romantic story couldn’t be applied to both our anthills and both our trees?

Allan Taylor, author Luanshya musings

     Picture. Jenny Hisin

Victoria Falls

The boat train chugged through a microcosmic rain forest permanently buffeted by the clouds of rain and hot air that were forced out of the bowels of the Zambezi River. It was a strange oasis sitting in the middle of a leafless grey African bush, suffering yet again from a taxing dry season… a Utopian world perched on the edge of basalt cliffs and ravines that hurtled your senses down into the waters of an angry river below.

Allan Taylor, author, Luanshya musings.

Chris Mclennan

                                   Chris Mclennan

The African night

Turkana African Soul

                        Turkana African Soul.

Black was the feminine darkness that caressed me every night. She could be voluptuous, velvet, and soft; that’s when I could smell her jasmine pepper-sweet body. But she could also be black ice, cold and sharp and unsympathetic to my whimpers and muffled groans on those close nights that choked me. She carried this distrustful sting of ambivalence even when she was running her long fingers of sweat through my tangled hair. I could have feared and hated her – but I didn’t: I loved her, and always would. She was my black spirit of sensual addiction. Her nightcaps were of sequins embroidered on rich velvets of dark plum, burnt caramel, and indigo. Colours dependent on the time of night, dust in the air, fires on the horizon, phases of the moon, lurking storm clouds – or simply the midnight closeness.

She was a Mephistopheles who kept strange company: arguing parents, barking dogs, the ghosts of distant hyenas, unknown owl calls, or the unsettling shriek of a bush baby in distress. Her smell then, was a fetid waft from a swamp – or was it that our septic tank was blocked? I used to ponder as to why our septic tank always belched at night, and never during the day.

Allan Taylor, author Luanshya musings