And then on some days, my soul wakes up old. Like really old. Like sit on top of a hill in the evening, sipping some palm wine among fellow old men kind of old. Its the kind of old that observes but wants nothing to do with activity of any sort.
I just want to be. There but not there. Alive but not active. Like a frog during hibernation. Do frogs hibernate by the way? I suppose they do. Ugly creatures have the best survival skills sometimes. And they make it out of situations that take away the beautiful ones.
Anyway, I digress. Not that there is any focus in this old age phase. Everything is just as it is. No getting worked up about anything. Reminds me of a literature review. And how we were being told it shouldn’t read like an activist’s manifesto. I found that funny. I mean, I personally can low key see how people like me can turn it into a spirited activist manifesto. But most people are never that passionate about things. And if they are, they don’t put them out there for harsh critique.
But most weekends find me like this. Full of energy for staying idle. With an active mind. Rather, an over active one. But a passive one too.
Where only the writers of old interest me. Older writers than Ngugi was Thiong’o. Or his age mates. I didn’t know much of those ones, except Wole Soyinka( I love this old man’s mane of a hair! See, everything old seems attractive right now). Till I chanced upon this short stories book, titled ” Looking for a Rain God” , that has maybe 30 of those interesting species that we young people ditched in favour of Chimamanda, Chinelo, Yvonne Owuor , Nnedi Okarafor and the likes.
And reading the likes of Ama Ata Aidoo, Aineo, Charles Mungoshi, Barbara Kimenye, Bessie Head and Tayeb Salih, feels like coming home. From the hustles of the youth. From the worries of the young. From the hurry of the energetic.
These people don’t hurry. They don’t know all these rules young people are bombarded with when telling a story. They simply tell you a story. With all its juiciness. And with no particular attachment to any part of it.
And that aspect of the kind of stories this old me enjoys isn’t the only good thing to come with this day.
Music. Old kiswahili music. Man, couldn’t those mzees come up with lyrics. Listening to their songs is like someone taking my hand, and gently leading me through their lives. Through ‘mtoto si nguo utaomba mtu’, to ‘Singula Nakupenda’. Easy. No stressing over where or who. Just telling a story with a guitar. Even the voice isn’t that much of a must. Just allowing people to glimpse into an aspect of your life authentically.
And i’m a little afraid. I say little, because it is more of a thought process than an emotional feeling at this point. That I will wake up, and find myself restless with the energy of youth coursing through my veins. Telling me to do. To be active. Refusing to listen lovingly to the rain with no particular attachment to neither rain nor sunshine.
That I will be back to listening to music that has been processed and packaged purposely for me, with no authenticity to it. And I will listen, and forget all about it. Till years down the line when its throw back Thursday, i’ll hear it somewhere and think to myself, that I once loved that song.
That I once loved a,b,c,d. That I once worried over someone. That I once was over the edge with nerves, waiting endlessly for their next move. Willing their next move.
Isn’t it a pity, how we want things so badly when we don’t think we can have them?
And life moves on. 2018 nears to its end. I’ve seen people already talking of January 2019. And all I can think of,is that one day, I’ll be seated on top of an African hill, sipping whatever will be my fancy then, and I’ll know that my time is up.
I’ll look back to the days of obliviousness as a kid, to the troublesome days of teenage hood, to the self awareness of my 20s, the self discovery of my 30s, the relaxation of my 40s, the new stress free purposefulness of the rest of my life, and I shall be ready to join those who went ahead of me.
And should that moment come before then, I hope it finds me relaxed like this. With a soul lazily unmoved by nothing.
Listening and reading old people who are mostly dead has that effect. In case you are wondering what led to all this. Reading words that are so damn well written, dialogues that teleport you to the scene and imagination that uses so little words but gives you such a vivid picture.
And then thinking, that this weren’t 80year olds blessing us so, they were in their 30s, 20s and 40s. They had dreams. They had hopes. But above all, they had energy coursing through their veins. And they used it as was appropriate.
So maybe my youthfulness isn’t such a folly after all. After all, who shall indulge that old soul of mine that shall reincarnate in that young lady many decades to come, if I don’t appreciate the restlessness that comes with being young and give it its fair due?
So I wait for the day to break. Drink more tea. And appreciate these kind of days when I wake up old.