I was staring at the ceiling reciting a sentence from the “opening prayer” I am memorizing for use on Sunday morning (in Chichewa, of course), when an ill-defined shape on the ceiling caught my attention. It looked somewhat like a balloon, maybe six to ten inches in diameter, somewhat ovoid, somewhat transparent with a fuzzy demarcation of its outer limits, and it “oozed” its way around the ceiling. As I watched several other blobs with ill-defined borders appeared and disappeared. Some moved faster than other, some even seeming to dart, while most seemed to slide or roll, “ooze” is the best way I can say it, around and around.
It rained today, very, very hard. And some of the stains on the ceiling are a little larger than they were this morning, so I thought maybe I was seeing bubbles easing through a reservoir on the other side of the sheetrock. But these shapes moved forward and back, and always in somewhat of a circle on the ceiling. I then began searching for the source of the circle, as I realized these were shadows, and saw the bright light in the middle of the circle criss-crossed by lines, with a somewhat lesser light fading away from the darker circle in which the shapes moved. I was looking at the projection of the lampshade on the ceiling.
We (Beth had joined my observations) have recently been invaded by little orange beetles with pearly blue-black wings, and with today’s rains they had renewed their efforts to take our house by storm. At least thirty of the pesky little critters ( their wings work, but their flight paths are not always in agreement with those of us who presume that we manage the house) were crawling all over the lampshade, and those who walked on the upper rim were well-illuminated against the ceiling, magnified many times.
The projection on the ceiling reminded of those “lava” lamps whose oil and water contents (or whatever it is) are in constant flux. But our lamp had no such features. Just little orange bugs, like most of the rest of our living room (including the computer screen, and keyboard, and the front of my shirt, and sometimes the back of my hand. They really look wild walking across the upper rim of my glasses. No, I don’t eat them—see our newsletter at www.HIVemSA.org.) We laughed about our immediate choice of entertainment, perhaps excusable what with a limited selection of books (though we haven’t read all at our fingertips), no movies (some are on the boat), and an extremely intermittent and slow-when-its-there internet. But do we really need an excuse for enjoying the “nature show” projected on the ceiling while we work on Chichewa. No, we’re not going crazy, just making do quite nicely with what we have while being encouraged to work on what we’re here for.
Tiwonana (see you later)