Public Key (Lv)

I took my laundry and my laptop and my contact high and walked back to my hut. After having blindly run into a stranger – a foreigner at that, a traveler, a person more likely to be connected to the world, to read newspapers, to see wanted posters, okay I was going off the deep end again – I decided to take a few days to myself. To stay in my hut. To play my guitar. To enjoy my freedom, even if that meant I had to accept limitations on my liberty.

I started to get the hang of it.

I started to get the hang of cooking over a campfire. I borrowed another potjie from Oakley and that made all the difference. I could keep bread in one, stew in another, use the third for tea or to boil grain. With their heavy iron lids no animals could get to them, and in the bitter-dry air of mountain Lesotho mold wasn’t a big problem. I even started to bury the pots part-way in the ash and embers of the fire. They would stay warm for hours that way. It made the outside of the bread crisp and sweet, and did things to stews that I can’t begin to describe.

I started to get the hang of living in a small room. I began to accept the world around me as part of my house. From my front door I could walk down to the end of the peninsula, a healthy little stroll. If I went left I could get to the river much faster, provided I didn’t mind traveling by rock-slide. If I went down just a little ways, down to where the steep drop began, I could follow above the river miles in either direction. If I went right I’d be rock-climbing before too long. If I went left and stayed high I could follow the river for miles, back and doubleback on itself, skirting one little bushtown before coming to Sekong and the bridge I’d crossed some days before. Not a day went by when I didn’t take an hour, or three, just to wander around with my thoughts and my big backyard. Not a day went by when I didn’t find something new.

I started to get the hang of hanging out. I confess I didn’t really have the focus to study digital privacy as I’d meant to. Instead I did other things. I always had at least two books open at any one time, even if they were open only as windows on my desktop. I was methodical. I made a list of all the books I’d ever wanted to read, and set about reading them. I was also aesthetically-minded. I read the books that looked good. Even if I had to skip a few classics, here and there. Or occasionally read a graphic novel. Or watch a movie or three.

I started to get the hang of my guitar, too. But I’d been starting to get the hang of it for about a decade now. It was never going to get any farther than that. And I was fine with that.

I started to get the hang of my day to day. I read and I watched. I walked and I played. I cooked and I cleaned. I took care of myself. I started to get the hang of living my life

Every day I hung in there was a victory – so long as I enjoyed it, enjoyed my freedom. Every day I had to say, my freedom was sweet and happy.

Maybe I would have preferred to go back to the states, find a job, get an apartment, get a girl, go for drinks, see a show, make friends, break friends, talk about the office, save up a little, worry about a lot, buck for promotion, wait for vacation. Maybe. Maybe not. But there was plenty of time for that tomorrow – for today, I had a life, and hang the rest.

And besides, I hadn’t had any thing like that! I’d had expensive itinerance, stale couches and sweaty bus-seats. I wasn’t making any progress in America, no progress towards life or love or anything remotely resembling a job. I might not have been making much more progress in Africa. But at least I was in Africa. It might not have been progress. But at least it wasn’t Pittsburgh.

But this was just sophistry. So long as the hangman waited for me…

This was life.

 

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~ by davekov on 25 February 2011.

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