Tuesday 13 February 2018

Mauritius 13/2/18

Thinking of my sisters this early morning, in the heat of a Mauritius night held beyond breathing distance by an efficient air conditioning unit. One sister gone, one going and the other making hay, stitching in time, putting her best foot forward, breasting the waves and generally getting sorted, as you do when the inevitable becomes, clear sighted and obvious.

There is a restlessness in me as I feel raging at the night drawing nearer and feel a need to do something to get sorted too but I've been told, by those who see angels in their mirrors, that seeking greener grass is a fool's errand. Then I see contented animals doing it successfully all the time and remember those sad, skinny mules kicking around, rib-chested in muddy confines. Maybe they rushed in a while ago, full of hope. No, we make our own beds and must lie in them, whilst it’s night.

I was struck again, yesterday, by how same the world is, wherever I've been. When you see behind the rose tinted lenses, your tourism spectacles come with, beyond the greener grass where mountains grow, before the woodlands, valleys, or those different coloured rocks and sands and seas.  It's when you have become used to the bird songs and vocal tumbling in the mouths of locals - that you see, and feel, it is far more of the same, this wonderfully similar, recognisable, Earth.

The Desire Lines on sand and snow, on scrubland and wasteland that wander in a wriggle of nonconformity as though each walker enjoys the first maverick's little wander from the straight line, that joins every two places. As though, every few little steps they say, "I can ,and I will, tread beyond the expected you know. Look I am doing it now!". Then a furtive weave back to the straight path.  These desire lines soon to become worn tracks, bridle and road ways.  Eventually laid bare, black and tarmacked black they become undulating but straight line to the heart of the, once village, then town, now city.

And where is the heart of this city? The market of course as it is and it will always be. For this is the place where we humans go for food. In this endeavour we are exposed, as nowhere else. Except perhaps the waterholes but these are rare things now as our springs are piped to our private cloisters and closets, as is our music.  So, most not all of us, drink, wash and soap ourselves in secret intimacy. Only peeping Toms see in joyless voyeurism.  So, yes, our markets are, if you take the time to watch, a window into our communal soul. We are busily joyous, earnest, singular, industrious and vulnerable in our selling, buying and carrying off our necessary vitals and victuals.  Yes, here in the fleshy, flowery, fishy and flamboyant displays we are naked expectants of the unrealised power we carry, new found in our bags, bundles and boxes. Back home we journey, licking our lips in anticipation of the cooking and eating, dressing and wearing, unpacking and using our new finds.

Children carry for mother's. Sisters load their brothers. Singletons barter for lovers.  Some alone, not all lonely, will wear it, eat it, or display it for long remembered others..

In this hustling bustling and muscling I see the same expressions I've seen all my life. You'll know them all and recognise them instantly too. It is reassuringly human and - so - in this instant my melancholy evaporates and a sterner, happier more resolved mood takes its place.

New day - new paths - best foot forward. Like my sisters always teach me.