Writers Note: There’s a fire in a pit, for some reason these are the first words that came out my brain when I opened word just now so that’s what I will go with. There’s a fire in a pit …..
When there’s a fire in a pit my son what do you do? Do you go fetch water and look to wash out the flames or do you take one, two, three steps back, run and jump?
Two choices, you would think one the sensible thing to do and the other the rash thing. So if for example I told you a story about a man who had a dream, and in that dream there was a fire in a pit and he stood before it, naked as the day he came from his mother’s womb, and lets say in that dream he inhaled deeply, took those steps back and jumped, how would you interpret that dream to me? Would you stand as Joseph of Pentecost Asafo did and say ” in days to come you will come upon a challenge, rather than wait on the challenge, your best bet will be to act on your impulse.” Would you say that? That that, and only that, would guarantee his success? That interpretation could work right? But what if the dream was sent by Sasabonsam, king of the demons as some foil to a greater good; so he did exactly that and then failed?
Once upon a time a naked man came upon a pit, in this pit lay a burning fire, it’s flames sparked and flickered a fiery hot. It warmed the man’s face, and even then he but stood at its edge. The fire burnt and burnt and the man stood there at its edge, desperate to cross. He stared at the flames, pondering what to do, behind him from where he had come was a river with a huge pot at its bank, but it was at least a day’s journey off, surely he could make the jump.
As he stood there pondering Vulture came upon him
“Why do you stand here man?”
“I want to cross to the other side”
Vulture, an evil gleam in his eye, knew a meal when he saw one.
“Oh..” He flapped his ugly wings and lifted himself off the ground, encircling the pit in a continuous loop. “you can make it; it’s length is not so far apart. I can tell from the shape of your thighs you are an athlete, look at that, look at those calves, surely you can jump”
Man stared at the flames, then at the vulture who was now being joined by friends. Everyone of them would come, take a good look at him, rise up into the air and repeat the same encouraging words “you can make it, you can jump”
Man who had spent then even more time staring at the flames than he would have had he turned around towards the stream finally moved. He took three large strides backwards. One…the vultures counted with him, two….three! Man run as hard as he could and jumped.
“What happened grandma? Did he make it?”
“Yes.” Grandma lifted me from off her lap and carried the plate of tangerine peels into the kitchen. “Man made the jump and continued on his journey”
I sat there, confused, not knowing what to make of all this. Usually there was a lesson to be learnt.
She came strutting out the kitchen, a smile on her face.
“Man was foolish, but man survived. Life is not so definite.” She lifted me from off the carpet and carried me on her chest. I wrapped my arms around her.
“Sometimes very intelligent people fail while the stupid achieve great things, it is not because they were intelligent or stupid, it is because that is life” She bounced me on her chest and I laughed.
“Everything I have ever told you, this is the most important. Life is a machine that you just have to keep tuning, it doesn’t mean the harder you tune the more it will work in your favour, everyone’s machine is different, some require a harder tune, others, no tune at all. It’s nonsensical. But we all keep tuning because it’s the best chance we’ve got”
And every time I drop flowers at my grand-mothers grave, I remember her smile, the gap between her teeth. I remember the most important story she ever told me, the one I still don’t understand.