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At the window...

Sometimes I go to the window to let fresh air caress and cool my face, or to investigate a noise that attracts me. From the window I see the corners , or crossroads if you like, which we first negotiated in 1962, as we made our way to our first and only dwelling , so far our only piece of real estate. I remember how it was a grim desert then, incomplete, and how absent the hummingbirds and butterflies were; so that today, when a hummingbird zips through our yard, hovers at a flower or two, feeding furiously , then flyiesoff on its business of survival, or when a flock,almost a flood, of yellow butterflies suddenly zigzags through, covering an overgrown orange tree and drunkenly and erratically float away in the distance, it evokes days of childhood in places where hummingbirds and butterflies abounded, and bad boys with slingshots massacred them simply to prove their marksmanship.

We have turned this desert into fertile greenery, much like the Israeli were still doing in their kibbutzim at the same time, happy for an opportunity for our own tiny plot of earth, and our house, like Mr Biswas, though today with dimming memory the source of that opportunity is increasingly derided, despised and ungratefully and ungraciously forgotten. Everywhere the grey earth, where a man, now dead, walked with his Geiger counter of an evening, searching for some unknown treasure, seeming scientific and weird, everywhere has sprouted green green grasses of home, fruit trees and avocados to encourage the indigent to prowl in the quiet time for what has been provided for them, a plethora of flowering plants, colourful shrubs, orchids, roses, anthuriums, and Chinese coconut trees that were supposed to be dwarves but have towered into the air so that only professional climbers can now reap them.

Hands of love have changed the landscape and the houses ( and increased their value by renovations and restylings), and the sound I heard by the window could have easily been my wife, Sylvia, practising her horticulture, weeding, trimming, mulching, fёertilizing, fumigating, watering and sometimes even talking to her plants. She might be strategizing as well - putting short, less tempting ones near the fence, where Christians passing feel itеs their right to grab a handful for their churches without objection or permission. Itе s all right they seem to think, to be discourteous and to commit praedial larceny for the Lordеs sake. Or again, some idle hands moved by the beautiful results of anotherеs industry would simply pluck blossoms and often discard them after a smell and a few metres of admiration. The emerald background to the variegated blossoms and leaves, achieved by diligent sweat and caring, provide a sanctuary for the eyes as the beauty uplifts the owners above the mundaneness of other trials and tribulations that insinuate themselves in the act of living.

From the window, the Ashes, across the way, have another view of landscaping which results in giant roses of many colours bordering their fence, sometimes garlanding their pѓost box as if only happy news would be forthcoming as the postman passes, and, when the sun shines, in the mid-morning of a bright day, the resplendence of their roseate corner causes one to linger at the window in reverie, long than intended, soul travelling to the beautiful planes of the universe.

The first wave of children have grown up and moved away. No longer are they on their bicycles or skates, or, nicely dressed, strolling of an evening. They have all won their scholarships, gone to universities, married and moved to different levels of achievement and success. The bright-eyed who nurtured them are now having cataracts lasered, and are grey-haired and long toothed. Inside, the cable television dominates; and lately, the computer and the internet.

I see slow people passing, people who have either grown corpulent or become wizened; there is a little indecision in their step. I draw my head in from the window and refuse to look at the mirror on the wall.

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