In our backyard, the teak and custard apple trees are greening again after losing their leaves in the cooler season. The ground is bone dry as we await the big rains. (Normally we expect them at the end of the year but with climate change the seasons have become more erratic.) As I sit at my study window looking out at the new growth, I wonder where the newly green trees draw this moisture and life from. It’s like they have some secret source, one that belies their immediate environment, these budding trees in this home Red Twin never saw.
In Anne of Green Gables after Matthew’s death, Anne “felt something like shame and remorse when she discovered that the sunrises behind the firs and the pale pink buds opening in the garden gave her the old inrush of gladness when she saw them – that Diana’s visits were pleasant to her and that Diana’s merry words and ways moved her to laughter and smiles – that, in brief, the beautiful world of blossom and love and friendship had lost none of its power to please her fancy and thrill her heart, that life still called to her with many insistent voices.”
When Red Twin died, we knew so little of our Callum: he was only a bit over two years old. We knew he had a sunny disposition and an orderly mind but since then we’ve seen his sense of humour emerge and his interest in geology. People say he looks like me but he’s more like her, how he’s competitive and how he compromises more than he has to because that’s what will keep the peace. He has her ‘helping heart’ and her love of Maths.
Like Anne, I’m perplexed that the world did not stop when Red Twin died, that children continue to grow and delight us. Especially when that child reminds you so much of the one you lost. Our Callum is not Red Twin’s child but there is some unseen source that nourishes his budding personality.
He often wants to talk about her, this auntie he has no memories of but whom he feels connected to by his similarities. In these conversations I often feel my eyes fill and my mouth tug down at the edges. It’s missing her and it’s also wistfulness that she is not here to share our joy over him or our amusement at how like her he is.
When Red Twin visited us in downtown Dar when Callum was just five months old, he preferred sleeping in the sling and she adored getting to wear him around. He is still snuggly and generous with his affection. Both would have loved him curling up on her lap in this season too: “Auntie Red Twin, do you see the green?”
Categories: Written by Tamie
Tamie Davis is an Aussie living in Tanzania, writing at meetjesusatuni.com.