COMMENTARY

The Mountains Of Negativity

“Raised in the rain-shadowed Mountains of Negativity, can our Breadbasket produce abundant harvests of prosperity?”

I was more than soundly beaten out of the attack the first time around. So, it was with some trepidation and intrigue that I took the ball to rejoin the bowling attack at the captain’s request.

The captain was more sanguine yet quixotic about it. Philosophical even. He pointed to the Mountains of Negativity and a thin wisp of white cloud forming in the distance, as if those two unrelated testaments, both old and new, held the key to overcoming. I had nary a clue. Then he pointed at the scarecrows in whom the crows had made their nests and lived with constant quarrels, chatter, and fights in the abandoned field. The scarecrows wore the ugly gowns of defeat, their hearts befouled by the worst of fowls.

Then he pointed at the wisp of cloud now with a gathering of puffy clouds racing across the sky, then back at the scarecrows, bowing with humiliation with nary a breeze.

Mountains cast long shadows, especially when the sun’s light is at a low angle. That’s not rocket science. Ours, seemingly, was.

I must confess, before the fact, that I neither saw nor grasped the essentials of what the captain pointed to, which is that the imagery of the scarecrows infested with birds, poop, and young ones in the shadows of the mighty Mountains of Negativity, are feeding on the despair and dejection they have fostered, hoping for a breeze from the heavens. But that breeze, that wind of change must come from within ourselves. But that’s for later, and probably over a glass of argumentative rum.

What I will tell you of the day we lost that match but won it outright, will tilt your perception of reality.

The first ball of the over was flighted on or just outside the off stump. The batsman danced down the wicket and made a mighty heave. The deceptive spin on the ball tracked it low within a hair’s breadth of the stumps. The batsman had to scamper back to his crease to avoid being stumped. But what was noticed and heard, though hardly could be believed, was the gasps and shrieks that came from the scarecrows. Then it started coming to me.

With each succeeding ball I bowled, tempting, teasing, and befuddling, the batsman, the crowds roared. However, it was the scarecrows dancing and prancing, still covered in crows’ poop, that made everyone’s day, with nary a breeze, I must add.

The wispy clouds above grew to promise blankets, but no one wanted rain just yet. Not the scarecrows whose internal dynamics had sparked their own breeze and have become so agitated by the strength of their convictions that their moribund bedraggled selves have become animated, and evicted the quarrelsome crows.

Not the crows who were now homeless. The last thing they would ever want is a good shower of rain on their ill-fated parade.

Not the batsmen of the opposing team who were still agonizingly close to victory but hadn’t scored a game-altering run since the imagery threatening their reality came into prominence. And certainly not the captain who was busy pointing to something I couldn’t quite make out, but appeared to suggest that we too, would be dancing on the Mountain of Negativity.

Living in the shadows of that mountain has shaped and fashioned our reality. Realities are like momentum. They persist until a New Something changes or happens.

How did the match go?

We lost by a wicket. But you should see the buckets of water and cleaning crews, including all the players of the winning team that marched with purpose and joy to clean up the scarecrows. They found their rhythm and voices on a windless day. We found ours because of them. Then the rain came to conceal our tears.

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Peter Peterkin, Readers Bureau, Contributor

 Edited by Jesus Chan

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