the dappled shade under the wild fig tree. A woven hammock is rigged so the hot summer afternoon can be spent in soporific meditation with a dapper pillow propping the hollow of my neck.
The green bower encloses my sense of solitaire and the escape from the daily farm routine.
In this soft blanket nest I dream of a passed ocean journey…
Sea spray high on the foredeck dipping and rising and I am with my children in uninhibited song. For sixteen days we have been furling sail in the equatorial seas, dancing in the squalls and eating endless meals of freshly caught tuna, cooked with the deft hand of only a cook’s imagination.
Alone on an ocean where a lonely high wave of the waters between two continents does bring a longing to put feet on land and to pick flowers. Until the day comes fashioned with the excitement when the tiniest bit of land, the Finger of God, appears on the horizon so close but not almost there. It grows with the hours into the welcome sight of land and trees, rivers and houses, beaches and boats. All this is laced with my impatient sense of timing.
Fernando de Norohna, the Green Isle off the great Brazilian coastal corner. Have we waited and waited for refuge from the lingering sea days and nights. Even now I long to climb into the tiny rowing boat and head toute-suite for the shore.
The golden warm beach sand crunches under our sea legged feet as we rush like puppies to the mini waterfall in a rock crevasse to scoop water, fresh and ice-delicious over our salt caked sunbaked bodies. We taste the sweetness after weeks of salt…
I am back in my hammock. I stretch and allow myself a fresh memory. I see….
My home made raft on the muddy water of the farm dam. I wear an electric blue bikini, my first. I lie on the raft in lazy leisure, soaking in the December heat. School’s out for summer. Six weeks. My matching sunglasses are perched fetchingly above the blonde curtain fringe my mother can’t stand. My eyes are closed as I listen to the buzzing beetles, the zoom-zoom dragonflies of which I am not afraid. This muddied rainwater dam is currently my favourite place in all the world – away from the chores and mother’s expectations and little brother’s adulation.
I am just here, sighing and letting go into the sometimes bliss of adolescence. My raft floats gently on unmoving currents until it is nudged by the Island. The Island being a small mid-dam heap of wild grass and bamboo tufts offering shade to intrepid travellers and indeed hot lazy rafting adventurers. The nudge means a break.
I open my eyes slowly to view the situation. There he sits, six inches away, bellowing his cheeks and ogling me with simply enormous eyes. My brain computes that this organised blob of yellowy brown slime and unsightly nubbles is gathering his muscular stature to launch himself on me.
I, the hapless maiden in scant electric blue, in the second that is split, know he is an ugly bull frog and no prince for kissing and yelling in disgust, I throw myself off the planks.
I thresh through the murkiness, through the suctioning shallows towards the banks of the lake, to safety. I gasp but I look back at the monster who plopped himself confidently onto my flat vessel and there remains, for who knows how long. I run windlike towards home, the kitchen, the towels and the expectational mother.
And I come to with reluctance, the smile playing with my face under the dapply shade of the wild fig tree.
I notice the fruit is ripe already and the birds, in mini flocks, are keen to feed unperturbed as I lie in my coloured hammock.