The cold is intense and bone- chilling. The surroundings are dark and heavy with depression. I wonder how people survive in a place where there is no sunlight for months on end. The grey and black clothes do nothing to alleviate the gloom. Thoughts of magenta, turquoise and sunshine yellow flash through my mind, streaks of tie and dye fabrics in brilliant colours cloak me with imaginary warmth as I think about the country I have left behind.
I have come out for a walk and was hoping for some hot chocolate and human interaction. Within minutes I realise the futility of my intention. There is not a soul in sight. I stamp my feet to stop them from freezing and rub my hands in an attempt to warm them. The thought of sitting alone on an isolated bench is too saddening.
As I ponder over my course of action, I see the hunched figure of an elderly person coming down the road. Grey coat, white hair, body bent against the cold and using an umbrella as a walking stick. What could have brought her out into this freezing cold? Curiosity gets the better of me and I pause in my decision making.
She stops a few feet away from me and within seconds, as if by magic, she is surrounded by birds. Dozens of them have descended and are frolicking around her. She smiles delightedly and throws bits of food at them. They flutter around her like long lost friends. Some sit on her shoulder and some eat out of her hand. Their instant connection is palpable. She is talking to them animatedly. They seem to be infusing each other with some special energy.
I delight in her happiness and yet feel like a voyeur. I feel like I am trespassing on a sacred ritual. A ritual developed by two beings intent on acknowledging the importance of the others presence in their life for their sanity and survival.
The world does not seem so bleak anymore. I soak in this amazing sight and infuse the aura of the scene with brilliant, luminous colours of my own making. For some strange reason I am not cold any more.
I decide to continue with my solitary walk…and hope to find hot chocolate 🙂