The low hanging sun danced hazy off the morning fog. Moisture, draped temporarily over cotton and rubber trees, softening the edges of cassava leaves and muting popo (papaya) trees in the distance.

From a distance, in a blink, behind the cool mist, it looked like the Africa of storybooks, of every old movie and cliché. But the rubber trees are planted in rows, and between the seeming “wildness” that sprouts beside them, people cultivate small plots of land, build houses, grind a thousand footsteps in the same direction into a well-worn path.

And that green ribbon of land is different every time I go by. The placement of the sun, my mood, the moisture in the air, all conspire to paint a new picture- compose a new song. From the subtleties of daily routines dictated by time- bathing or brushing teeth – to the million things that blur into the background only to stand out as if alone only today, just this once…the popo trees fully grown out of the long abandoned foundation of a forgotten home, the fading bus stop signs on the side of the road.
And the seasonal things.

Skeletal cotton trees with bright blooms tipping their branches begin to leaf and cabbages neatly sprout green heads. So too, the stark white against the dun colored dirt. Dust blowing lightly across the ground, clinging to blades of grass and the feathers of chickens pecking for breakfast. A lone bird stood white feathered and unmoving in the breeze, ornamental and  elegant against the surrounding green and brown.

It was strange to see just one after weeks of watching clusters of them. Five or seven at a time, soaring in asymmetrical patterns against the orange of dusk filled sky. And I wondered if this was the end of their time here. Migratory, I was told they came only for the dry season and then moved on. later, as if to assure me of their presence and the dry season’s endurance , I watched as handfuls of them dotted my yard in search of food.

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