Outside, the cool breeze rustled gently through the trees as if a flock of birds had just decided, in unison, to take to the skies. The evening light was exuding it’s incandescent glow, and the conical shadows of the pine trees were getting longer and longer by the minute. As if God himself was descending from the sky, a spectacular sunset was parading pastel hues of vermillion, burgundy, turquoise and yellow on the distant horizon, as flocks of birds silhouetted the sky appearing to disappear as they ducked below the jagged black horizon of mountains.
Coy was just returning to his hut having been out collecting some wood for the evening’s cooking. The autumn carpet of dry leaves lay on the ground, and crackled as he walked lazilly back to the humble shed that he regarded as his home, carrying a bundle of twigs that he had collected to prepare the evening meal.
As Coy opened the door, a glow emanated from one corner of the small room, where he had laid out some of his possessions to form a makeshift altar, and where he performed his daily sacraments He moved warily towards the lit altar that had been a place of memory and refuge for him for many years. What seemed an eternity passed before his eyes in the moment that it took to take a step to the altar, but he realized the depth of emotion that the events of his life intertwining with the lives of those around him, had caused.
In the centre of the altar stood a statue of Krishna, the Hindu deity that rules love, romance and the aesthetic sense, and Coy noticed that it was this statue that was steadily becoming brighter. The luminescence began to pervade the entire room, and Coy felt within him a feeling that he had never before perceived.
He flinched…..the altar stood there with Krishna in centre stage.
The room was clothed in its usually drab lighting.
There was nothing out of the ordinary. But Coy had glimpsed the extra-ordinary. Be it of his making or be it of outside interference, he had felt something that was to give him hope.
Ashi’s mother had just returned from the hospital. She had seen his eyes open when she relayed to her scion the words that had been said by the midwife that had delivered him. They had stuck in her mind but she had never communicated them to Ashi. She had not wanted her son to feel any different from the children around him. But this was a time when she felt that he needed all the support that could be mustered. Steffie knew that God giveth and God taketh away.
In the early evening dimness, Steffie was already having trouble seeing how she should split the blocks of wood to go into the aga and she decided to call it a night. Ashi’s father had died three years earlier after his cardiovascular system rebelled from his habit of eating a diet of only meat and fries., so Steffie knew the hard graft of living a semi-alternative lifestyle and she had bitten the bull by the horns. She put the axe in it’s place, and proceeded to gather up the wood which she had chopped into a bundle that she then tied with a rope and carried across the yard.
Steffie threw the wood in a bedraggled heap next to the aga and cried until she had no more tears left inside her. All the frustration, desperation and loneliness found a release. Steffie released. She made a resolve to substitute all the negativity with a return to the comforts that she had found so important when she was a child.