— journal that brings articulate writing for articulate readers.
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Sunday, November 24, 2013
Footprints of Nature by Monisa Qadri
Footprints of Nature by Monisa Qadri
The summer had been unbearable this year and the kids were the naughtiest. That evening when the sweating hands of the clock, hung on the west-side wall of the lobby, struck seven, I heard a window slam somewhere near to me. It had withstood more than 33 odd degrees of Celsius on that hot afternoon. Perhaps the slamming was as a result of collective sound of all the windows that were kept open during the day to let some cool breeze in and do away with the scorching heat. Suddenly, there was rattling on the roof tops, which grew and so did the door and window thumping. A lot of things were happening. The curtains could no longer hang in that age-old conventional position of guarding the doorway and limiting the undue gazes and peeps. They rose higher and higher and were dancing to the tune of swirling gushes of the wind. Sailing left. Moving up. Stooping back fast. They had been, as if, incarnated with this ‘dance of their life’. It seemed as if they wanted to accompany the wind and move with it to places unexplored but, the strangle of their destiny held them back, choking their ‘short-lived-dream of desire’. They could not but be tied to doors and windows.
Besides this whirlpool of emotions in these dancers’ hearts, there was another one within the wind that was going in all directions, at times jilting its companions – the leaves, the pebbles, and the specks of dust, which had to fly to other lands, where there were no shackles of captivity and chains of bondage. The winds move as they wish, they go where they want. They feel, taste, and breathe freedom in their every way. The evening was almost crossing over to its second half when some birds, yet to reach their cosy nests after a day’s toil, were flown faster by the wind, without their consent. It took them left and it took them right.
The moving air, which had softly touched the feet of trees earlier, now started plucking the petals off their flowers and leaves off their arms. Still, they bravely withstood the hard blows. The flight of these petals, though borrowed and short lived, but it would have been really refreshing. These fallen pieces of life sang in a sobbing chorus, asking, whether this flight was a blessing or the separation from their mother - a punishment. This was a shrieking cry that echoed from all corners of the garden, till the moonlit evening grew calm but only later. And not until the frail and weak branches fell, the pits got filled and ebbed out and the storm roared, did the moon come out hesitantly.
There seemed ages between the troubled dusk and the peaceful night. Unending era of wait prevailed between the loud and roaring evening and the silent dark. That day, it took some millions of desperate footprints in time to tread that distance of race against nature. As the howling grew, a sudden splatter, on the roof tops, took the ears away from the hissing sound of moving air. The taps from the heaven had been opened now.
Where ever the eye could see, water came tumbling down, as passionately as when shed from a wounded heart. It had the keenness of a child, who quickly splashes a stream of water over his tiny muddy feet, just when his mother is about to catch him dirty after playing. The streams were flowing from all over and over everything. And in no time, did the thirsty roads quench their thirst and the dry, grooved, fissured soil was enlivened. Visibly, the wrinkles on her face had vanished as the elixir of youth kissed them away. The greens were greener and the dry was gone. The clouds pushed by winds, the trees bending on all sides, the grass embracing the soil furthermore, the fence bathing anew, the bulbs holding on to the last knot of torn wires hanging from the old wooden street poles, the birds flying desperately, hither and thither, only to reach back to their branches, all had a shower. It cleansed their dust laden bodies and with it their desires of being cuddled by drops of pure love that night was also fulfilled. It seems to be shower of their lifetime, with no remorse about the cruelty unleashed by the storms earlier.
In a jiffy, the drops hardened as do the melting hearts with time. And as does the bleeding red liquid after it oozes slowly from the wound. The night was born from light. Rain froze. The now humbled rounded drops fell down with deepest humility, into the earth’s lap. Hailstones were falling all over, pattering over roofs, over lamp shades and over heads, and whosoever stood in their way and they sparkled in the dark of night slightly lit by the moon, half hidden behind the veil of clouds. The lush carpet was being covered as if with white pearls, of different sizes, of different values, but they were all precious. Precious pearls seemed more precious in the diffused rays coming from the damp garden lights themselves covered with vapours. Nature had bestowed erything with this wealth, whose melting made them more ephemeral and thus more invaluable. The rich got richer and the poor too got rich with this melting wealth. The creator doled them out with love.
Alas! In no time, the rain had stopped. Hailstones had rushed and now halted. Nothing was falling from the skies now. There was calm in air, in sky and in hearts as well. Everything had settled after this sudden shift in the mood of weather. Calm prevailed over the disturbance. However, clouds were still covering everything and there was a strange chill in the air, which was anything but cold. The birds had long gone back to their nests, resting with their companions and comforting their scared young ones who would be seeing more of this as they grow. Doors and windows were no longer slamming, nor was there any rattling on the roofs, and the curtains too were too tired to dance now. Slumber took over me from there, with concerns and thoughts in the mind about what the sight would be tomorrow, in the garden, on the roofs, near the trees and on the roads in light when the sun comes out yet again.