It rained just enough to raise the humidity a couple of notches. The body went for a stroll, the mind went for a meander. Together we sauntered along the footpaths of attempted paradise. Peacocks complained (they always complain; any creature that moans “help” deserves to be ignored) that the rain was too short, a chicken couple crossed the road so she could scratch her initials in the newly dampened earth while he stood proudly by accepting applause for her expertise; squashed copulating bugs in the middle of the path gave new meaning to the dangers of unprotected sex; heaven’s wet dark curtain rolled back to reveal an azure sky the colour blue was aiming for when it got side-tracked by the mundane; foliage a green only seen on a plateful of boiled, lab-enhanced broccoli; snarling, growling motorbikes (a chortling motorbike is probably as common as a satisfied peacock).
Apparently there were enough wishes for rain to precipitate a gathering of the rain chiefs. An argument ensued as to how much, where, when. The resultant fallout happened for hours, and it was time to wish the house stronger than it looked and the Earth a tad more permanent than it is. The wish occurred.
The next morning nature was out in awesome glory, preening and screaming, “Look at me, look at me!” Show off. And she was glaringly gorgeous in her newly washed and bejewelled finery. Pity it takes only a few hours of unrelenting spotlights to wilt and wash out the vibrancy, as if the universe is ensuring that nothing gets too big for its boots. Nothing is as it seems with Nature and the rain has moved roads to different places; carpets of leaves cover what should be open; stout forever trees with name boards trustingly nailed on them are lying in the road having only been kept in place by the termite nests in the trunks. Now the rain has dissolved them and the branches have been donated to the population as kindling.
Nature et moi have been having an eyeball to eyeball and to date, neither side has blinked. A snake dropped in the other day—literally. I was whiled away at the computer when I heard a “plop.” Didn’t take much notice as plops there are a-many—geckos, leaves, frogs, cats. But something told me this plop was slightly different. I carefully turned my head and looked into the bathroom. There was some foliage lying on the floor, but then again…. went and looked and the foliage didn’t approve. It rapidly made for the furthest part of the bathroom. I retreated and picked up some laundry I had dropped on the floor—didn’t need any entanglement. I silently left the house closing the door after me—wanting to know where whatever it was, was there when I returned, and went to call the amah. Sure enough a slender dark and light creature with a yellow streak down its side was trying to get out of an enclosure with smooth walls and two humans in the other space. Amah made clucking noises and uh uh uh uhs. I, made brave by observation, went into the bathroom and tried to shoo it out. It somehow shoo-ed up the wall, across the bricks and went somewhere not inside.
That was one…..
A couple of nights later I went to get some water without switching on the light. Noticed something in the sink that, like things in the mirror (and without my glasses), appeared smaller than it was. Light on. Scorpion glared back. Made the decision that if this thing was to live it had to be released, but doing so at night was not the clever option. Found a jar, flicked the scorpion in and released it the next morning.
As I write, four-and-twenty lbj’s (little brown jobs) are making an incredible racket outside, looking for grubs or whatever they eat in the scattered leaves outside, while a committee of coucals and mynas is loudly convening in the above branches. I put out a dustbin lid of water for the birds and they thoroughly, noisily enjoy getting soaked and come out of it looking a complete disaster. They then sit in the trees all ruffed (and roughed) up and flustered, preening until they look like sleek flying instruments again—although this lot could never be called sleek.
One of the cats had a face-off with a grey mongoose outside the back door. The noise was stupendous—cat growling, mongoose hissing and spitting. I decided to mediate with a broom. Didn’t feel like cleaning up bits of cat. Mean little things the mongoose are, but really cute. One of the other cats, of course the semi-lame one, tried to catch a snake that made a getaway in front of us. About 1.5 metres long and yea thick, grey with a strange mottled purplish band; it left quickly and hurled itself into the bamboo. I yelled at the cat and went and had a good look at the snake for as long as it allowed me before slithering off. Facing fears is supposedly good for the psyche and helps conquer them… right.
And then, as if to make up for all the blah going on, a huge eagle decided to have a bath in the dustbin lid. Gorgeous and majestic (after the preening) it was so big the tree it was sitting in was shuddering. Two shakes and there wasn’t a drop of water left. Of course, squirrels, lbj’s and even cats made themselves scarce. I sat and watched through the light space until it flew away.
Nature is a cacophonous business. There is nothing silent about the smell of cashew fruit, scintillating stars, plunging planets, a sunrise, the heady aroma of jasmine, the colour yellow. Add a couple of sound bites of squirrel, birds, mongoose, crickets, wind in dry leaves, frogs, termites and the place turns into a circus. Carpenter ants carry the house (and leather sandals) away in bits; geckoes lose their tempers and their tails—to be collected by ants to be collected by broom in a generous moment (insecticide in a less generous one); wasps hide away in anything hanging and protest violently at being hassled; spiders cast webs across anything and everything and in a sadistic moment, I sit and play “bait-bait” and watch the leggy creatures spring from their hideouts and charge for my piece of grass (ha, made you move); frogs are everywhere—in hanging towels, toilet, the basin drain (brushing teeth gets interesting when you bend down to rinse and a frog glares a “don’t you dare” at you, so you do), in the toilet roll. When you look in the mirror in the morning and a frog looks back and you start trying to figure out what you were up to the night before, it’s time to redefine your life.
I have come to the conclusion that my perfect space is large wads of nature, dotted with many dollops of space-time wormholes to Neverneverland’s capital city for R&R.
And Nature gives me its wild, maniacal grin, and I show it my teeth. As for paradise… it still has a long way to go.