The importance of a day

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Uldrastan, at a mature age of twentyfive, was one of the oldest in his tribe - he knew more than all the other women and men combined together and had therefore been elected to be their leader. That was last year, the year of the Yashanata, the feast they held every eighth year to celebrate the memory of the blue elders which had visit his tribe a long time ago. They called Uldrastan wise, though he despised the word. "Wise"... Truly wise was only someone who knows all there is, who knows why we desire to come here, who knows intuitively through his inner that every being is connected with every other organism, who knows that each of us possess enormous potential and who knows the reason why we decide to suffer. To be wise not only means to host this knowledge, but to express it in a way comprehensible to each and everyone of us, so we - hopefully - are able to utilise it. Uldrastan didn't consider himself wise, anyway not this part of him which they knew, which they had given a name. The blue elders were wise, not he.

He slowly raise, one hand pushing hard against the small dead Akashia tree. Joints hurting. Pulling the thin leather string harder around his narrow waist and starts to walk back on the winding dirt path leading home. The wind plays against his bare back. As he comes along the steep cliffs, raging up from the shore deep down below, his heart fills with beauty. Lately he has often stopped at this rock to look at the sunset, sometimes wondering why he didn't do it much earlier. It is a magnificient view as the large star sinks into the glistening sea. Today it is somehow different though, and he is purely overwhelmed by what he sees. It deeply moves him. Stretching out his thin arms towards the giant body. To just flow with its warmth, to try to grasp a part of its reality. It is a lovely sight, to feel, to be a part of all that is.

Uldrastan still stands there in silence as the star is halfway below the horison, one hand resting on the warm rock. Of a sudden he realise that there's no need to be afraid of the journey anymore. At the very same moment as this thought forms in his mind, a voice, like a gentle humming "Yes, I want to be a part of you too" rings inside him. He jerks his head, a bit shaken by the strength of the voice. Looks around, trying to find its origin. Except for some sea birds making large circles further out at sea, he is alone. The words repeat, much stronger this time. A touch on his shoulder makes him quickly turn around to meet a warm smile. Still feeling a bit shaken though as he's looking at the woman opposing him - he hadn't heard her coming up from behind. Dark hair loosely held together with a woven, bright coloured band. She doesn't say anything, but has this amused smile on her face, as if she's knowing something joyful everyone should know. He looks into her eyes and as he does her appearance change. It is as if he would be looking at a smiling replicca of himself. He feels the panic dwelling in his stomach, maybe his deepest thoughts would rip open, displayed for everyone to see. The appearance changes again and the woman is back.

"Do you feel better with this one?" she asks. "Please" he says, "don't you ever do that to me again". "It takes time" she says, "It takes time to move on like this... You don't have to be afraid..." her voice is more of a singing than spoken and her lips seemingly don't move as she speaks. "This is a part of the path you have selected. You are the part I've always loved and always will love. I'm here for you now as I was back then... as I always have been...". The singing stops. He can only hear the wind through the branches, accompanied by the waves hitting the shore below. A deep feeling of unity follows, both of them united through time and space, spirits united throughout the within. Her words makes no sense to Uldrastan as he stands there looking at her. Everything comes too fast. He is so full of joy, yet he can't express it nor does he know why he feels that way. He loves everything and everyone, and that, he knows, is what life is all about.

She raises her hand. A blue, vivid sparkling light surrounds the hand down the slender arm to the elbow. "It's all fine" says the singing voice. Images rushing through his mind. He sees the woman as an older brother of him, then as the father of their three children in a large and loud village with many strong looking houses. "It's all you" says the melodic voice. "Sandara!" he cries out. The name seems to have a long forgotten meaning and he's astound at the spontaneous reaction. The image vanish and as he reach towards the place where she stood the moment before, nothing but warm, African evening air slips through his fingers. A very low pitched humming hangs in the air filling his body from the belly and up. It's very soothing. Not knowing why, he raises his right hand straight up in the air.

Back in the village. He tries to make himself as comfortable as possible on the thick leaves covering his corner. Slowly falling into a deep sleep still having the smoke of the fire in his nostrils. His wife looks at him, wondering why her husband hasn't spoken a word since he got home. She looks at his face, a dancing warriors painted wooden mask in the last glow of the fire. She moves closer, sitting beside his stretched out body with crossed legs. Her hand lightly caressing his bald head over and over again. It soon turns into a mechanical motion and her mind starts wandering. She feels utterly sad that the illness visited their home too and she wonders how she shall be able to manage for all the children when he's no longer there. She's a burn-marked woman and no other would want her. Her worries doesn't help either. Her head tilts forward as she moves into a light sleep, still sitting beside him with her hand resting on his forehead.

It's cold and her arms hurt from the strange position. Lifting her head from the chest of her man. The first gray daylight finds it way through the opening in the roof, making the skin of her sleeping children appear unreal, a sick, greyish tone. Turning her face towards Uldrastan. Lightly touching his arm. Cold. Gently shaking his shoulder. Tears forming, silently finding their way down her cheek bones as she looks at Uldrastan's sunken in face. Kissing him once then raising up, walking slightly bent out of their shelter still being stiff from the cold. The salty tears burns a bit on her dry skin. The dusty sand doesn't care as it makes small pirouettes upon the hard stepped soil.

From his position Uldrastan can see his wife coming out of the shack. A small dog rushes playfully up to her, but she doesn't give it any notice. The burdened woman walks up to one of the larger trees at the border of the village having the dog following her trail. Uldrastan change position to be able to come closer to her. As he does, the little dog looks at him for a short moment. His wife let her body fall down like a lump with the back against the base of the tree. Trying to place his arms around her, to sooth her, to let her know that he has never felt any better than right now. The little dog curiously studies his attempts for a moment, but then focus his attention on the woman, deciding that she is rather the one who maybe has something eatable to offer. She cries out. Loud. The pain is overwhelming. The anger, the frustration, the loss. It hurts so much. The dog quickly decides to leave and scurries off through some lower bush formations, leaving the painful voice which he doesn't understand behind him.

The smoke column can be seen for several kilometers in the clear sky. No one in the neighbouring villages takes much of any notice of the daily routine. The flames eagerly eating the body which soon becomes an unrecognisable lump of coal.

He slowly leaves his outlook. It was so much they had wanted to share with one another which they never seemed to have managed. Always something coming in the way, things obviously more important. The few children and adults who are still gathering around the fire turns into small, dark dots in the strong daylight. He knows she will join him soon. With a swift thought his weightless shape shifts direction. Other fragments of himself joins in, moving together with him through the light.

Each day, UNAIDS estimates that, 8,500 humans are infected by AIDS, 1,000 being children. Further, it's estimated that 21,000,000 adults, and over 800,000 children are currently living with AIDS worldwide and that 9,000,000 children under fifteen have lost their mother due to the epidemy.

As long as you wear this precious, physical appearance of yours, make the best of each and every day - that's to be wise.

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Cheesy pictures and text copyright (C) by Bo Stahlbrandt 1999, 2000.