Monday, April 2, 2012
The Lianga In My Mind
Strangely enough, the images, sights and sounds of the Lianga in my fantasies would always be one and the same every time.
It would always be just past noon after the midday meal and the town would be basking in the midst of a glorious summer afternoon. The sky above the rooftops of the old houses would be, except for some stray wisps of misty clouds on the far horizon, an almost perfect blue and the streets practically deserted, The local people would be huddled indoors seeking escape and relief from the scorching heat of the noonday sun while trying, at the same time, to steal an hour or two of siesta sleep.
Outside the windows of our family house, I could, in my mind's eye, see the heat haze shimmering as it rose in waves from the baked concrete of the town's main street, the sultry air forcing its way indoors only to be enlivened occasionally by the sudden cool breeze vaguely smelling of salt and drying seaweed coming from the nearby sea. The only ones foolish enough to brave the heat outside would be the neighborhood dogs who would squabble from time to time for control of their favorite spots of shady ground, the occasional explosion of angry yips and barks punctuating the sound of muted music from a radio set coming from one of the many open windows down the street.
I could smell even in my mind the overpowering scent of dry grass tinged by the fragrance of the flowers wafting in from Mama's garden in the backyard as I see myself going into the back of the house. Beyond the garden, the eternal blue-gray of the Pacific would be restlessly stirring, the low, white-tipped waves marching in orderly rows only to crash one by one with a thunderous boom on the town's protective seawalls, each impact a dull thud followed by the sudden spray of white surf and frothy water.
It can be said that I am simply remembering and reliving in my daydreams the iconic Lianga of my childhood years in the 1970's and that the Lianga of today is, in many respects, is an altogether different place. Yet even the Lianga of the here and now can be full of surprises.
Just a Sunday or two ago, after a mild, cold drizzle in the morning, the sun suddenly broke out over the town in all its pre-summer glory. I was on the way out of town for a short trip and as I came out of the house just after lunch, I suddenly realized that I was looking upon near empty streets and a town that was uncharacteristically slumbering albeit fitfully through the heat of an unexpectedly hot yet glorious afternoon.
It was an afternoon unlike previous afternoons of the dying rainy season, one pregnant with the promise of another hot, indolent and idyllic summer. Beyond the north of the town, the familiar blue-tinged mountains with their wreaths of brilliant green beckoned invitingly and from the east came the faint yet constant crashing hiss of the sea and the coy hint of a freshening breeze.
With a realization as sudden as a thunderclap, it suddenly it hit me. Deja vu! I suddenly knew, to my eternal gratitude and joy, that for that one, rare and splendid instant in time, the Lianga of the moment and the ethereal and mystical Lianga of my fantasies and daydreams were one and the same.