Tuesday, February 16, 2010
A Winter Walk Home
Here is a piece I wrote for my daughter a few years ago.
A Winter Walk Home.
By Beatrice Ekoko
Human child in fuscha pink coat. Your mother stands patiently, placidly by in well below zero temperature as you reach the summit of Snow Mountain, pass the Scourging Hot Deserts and back up the Mountain again.
“She must not look behind her, Mummy. Or she will fail!”
“She is doing it! So Mummy you must cheer for her.”
I cheer for her. I cheer for her all the way. You are on the peak of the Mountain again and the sun is so bright that it turns things into diamond- the treasure that you are after is glistening and sparkling all around you.
“She is brave Mummy. She never gives up.”
Yes she is. I admire her.
“Can I have my weapon now?” You ask me.
I hand you the long, thin piece of icicle, formed on and broken off a stationary car. It too glimmers like a fairy wand.
“She mustn’t look back mummy. If she does...If she does she will have to start all over again from the beginning. She must keep on the snow. So mummy can you look back for me?”
I can look back for you and in front for you. That is what I am good at. And if I see so much as a shadow approaching I will throttle what ever it may be.
The sound of a large machine being turned on outside the arena, startles you, momentarily stopping your adventure- or is this part of your adventure? “What was that?” you ask edging closer to me.
“It’s just the ice maker for the rink or something like that. Nothing to worry about.”
Your eyes search, looking for the source of the sound but your play draws you back, bigger and truer concerns urge you on, fulfilment of expectations joyfully self- imposed pull you back.
“With my weapon I can pierce someone’s tongue.”
Not mine I hope. Although my tongue pierces.
The weapon breaks and now we have two. “One for me and one for you.”
Together we continue, you the avant-garde, me on the side, witness to your progress.
A wall is covered with 3 inches of snow and now my daughter runs ahead her hand is trailing fast in the soft fluffiness, sprayed snow flying like mist over her and me. The pursuit is hot, the chase is now.
“She has looked back once. So she has lost one point!”
The rules have changed. And will change again to meet the hero’s needs.
Your icicle drops again and breaks in three.
“Can we put them together?”
“No. But they are still beautiful”
“And we can get another,” you say, already over the loss.
“One I can use for a cane.”
“But it will break for sure!” I exclaim, then I regret it. You will find out for yourself how a delicate whim of nature is created for just a moment in time. How easily it breaks.
We reach home, the girl victorious. We must celebrate her. Alan, the janitor at the library told us earlier that day that if we spray a mist of hot water into the cold air outside, a shower of crystals will form on the mist’s descent. This is the proper way to honour a hero’s arrival.