The elderly head of the farmstead stood at the eaves of thatch and watched the drama of nature as it unfolded. The outcome or endgame remained a mystery, coded.
On a good day Mother Nature would scream like a lark and roar like a lion but draw the curtain with a whimper like a dog which has been flogged. Everyone would heave a sigh save children who have to make the journey to the stream with props.
On a bad day Mother Nature would start with a whimper and in instant gather strength like a runner on a hundred-yard race. She would blow off roofs, bend trees, and leave the rich field without trace.
In her elements Mother Nature remains an unwelcome visitor dusk or dawn. She stands at the centre of any windy fray and creates the infamous phrase, ‘eye of the storm.’
This night the head of the family expected things worse than known settings. Dark clouds had gathered and hung below the blue sky like earring. The clouds gathered and no wind, irrespective of strength, attempted to wipe them off. No one who knew the skies doubted the storm would be rough.
Grandpa wondered whether the binding wires of the mud house had the tensile strength to stop the wind from reckless attack on the roof. The wires, products of the palm wine tree were used to clasp the bamboos to the mud walls to form a root.
In minutes the booms, the bangs, the pelts petered and uneasy calm reigned. Fowls stretched their wings further to cover the frightened brood while the short tails of goats shivered like leaves as the goats stood in the flooded pens. Aged trees were cut in half, corn in emerald lay on their sides while the army of water leaves struggled and gasped for air. Mother Nature had concluded her official visit and as wont, left the homestead in despair.
Did Mother Nature give a thought to the moments she traced? For after her visit, hunger has clasped the people like a python in a vicious embrace. The farmstead, asthmatic, gasps for breath to stay alive. But Mother Nature moved on oblivious of the pain and went on to searched for another prize.
What did the rustic folks do, or failed to do? If Mother Nature wanted sacrifice she had a choice of fowls, a bull, and food. If she wanted yams, she had a choice of the fattest the homestead had. If she wanted a goat, one sat under the apple tree, a free card.
And who forgets Mother Nature listens to no one anyway? It can howl and roar all day. And like her child, rain, she falls on every roof from thatch to zinc. No priest stops her when she stirs a pool and turns farms to pink. Who stops her flames which raze miles of forest created before man knew the course? Neither in California nor in Australia has she been tied to a stake like a horse.
Mother Nature wrought the wreck before she withdrew, free. Maybe she toasts with palm wine, eats chicken, and munches fruits from the kola nut tree. She may laugh while she watches folks struggle to pick up the pieces of their lives. For after the fray stems of plantain and maize lie on their sides as if cut with knives.
The homestead knows Mother Nature will return. She does at any time of day to make folks forlorn. She would start with a shy face like a lion, growl, attack, and consume the fields. Folks, battered like broken pots go home to swallow pills.
May be one day tormentors of the widow and the orphan will have the liver to access the palace of Mother Nature. There they will confront her and reduce her stature.
For today the head of the household asked questions he had done a thousand or more times in the past. Why does the anger of Mother Nature fall on the poor, the innocent, and earth’s downtrodden cast? What and who make Mother Nature angry? Can she, like the gods, be pacified to stop her from her heavy hand on the farmstead’s pantry?
Why does she deal with a light hand where pots and pans are numbered in the dozens? Why must she visit the homestead where dishes were made from the calabash plant and ovens? The answer the head of the homestead received had been – where pots, pans, and silverware abound there are no residents? Mother Nature goes where she pleases to ask for rent.