A rant. I need to rant. Today I saw a giant wall go up at the back of my property. It was not my decision to have this wall, nor do I want the wall there, yet there it stands. Dividing 'my side' with the 'other side'.
It frustrates me seeing this 'Great Wall of Rayong' go up brick by brick as the workers, who to their credit build at a speed I've never seen in Australia, busy themselves like ants. The scraping of trowel as excess cement is cleared away rings in the background throughout the house all day from 8 till 3, when I get some reprieve at last by going to training. But while I'm home, it's a constant reminder that I'm closer to being walled into what was once a completely open, expansive lot.
It won't get any better, of course, because the rest of the houses will be built in the compound and the only way I'll be able to see expanses of nature is by perching myself upon this Great Wall of Rayong like a little bird might.
I've stared at the rubber tree plantations that bordered this lot for weeks now; mesmerised by the rippling dappled light that played along the rows upon rows of vertical stalks thrusting ever upwards. In the mornings it's magical - the sun rises directly in front of you and you glimpse it's egg yolk yellow peeping through the tree canopy. This is the best time to look at the light, as it quickly moves, casting initially deep, weak shadows along the ground before quickly receding back to the the base of the tree and getting stronger, more sure of itself. Their spindly fingers reaching out, almost touching me, but they never quite reach - time only it's enemy in this regard. And it's not just one tree's shadow, no, it's masses of them - hordes of thin shadows, from trunk to branch to leaves, all moving together.
Then the wind! Oh, when the wind breathes through the tree canopy in the morning the light is spectacular. It's like looking at the light that glistens off a rippling ocean, twinkling away at you in that sea of blue. Yet, this is not the ocean; no, it's the forest floor. So the light that greets me are hues of warm yellow and orange, greens and browns, all twinkling away, but just like that of the ocean in it's own unique way. I feel as if I may be under the sea at times, when I've been staring out into the plantation for long enough, entranced by the sway of the light on the floor, the sound of leaves rustling all around me, and the canopy swaying back and forth ever so slowly, visible only as an acknowledgement of movement in my peripheral vision. It's like I'm in a kelp forest, yet dry, and on land, with my feet propped up on the table in front of me as I just stare. Sometimes I'll have my coffee cup in front of me too, perched on the table, steam rising up and adding to the effect.
In the afternoons, everything I saw in the morning is reversed. Shadows no longer come towards me but snake away as the darkness of the jungle encroaches closer and closer with every minute, just waiting for the sun to turn a magnificently devilish red for a few moments before disappearing from view, leaving a purple-pink haze in its wake that's greedily swallowed by the clouds overhead. The canopy above mirrors these colours somewhat, making a strange, otherworldly scene. But it's not otherworldly, it's right here. All of it witnessed while leaning against a post outside the kitchen as the evening breeze comes rushing through from the beach.
And now, I'll see none of it. Thanks to this wall. This division of not just space, physical and visual, but a clear marker of 'humans are here' and 'humans are not here'. I hate it. To think of my time now spent looking at cement rendering, for there's not even landscaping in the yard yet. How could there be, when it's still a construction site to build, of all things, the wall itself. The mornings will cast a shadow. It will be long and rectangular and regular and the same. There will be no plays of light on the floor in front of me, nor will I get entranced looking into the far distance. There is no far distance. The wall is but 7 or 8 metres from me. At least, in some small celebration, I'll be able to look above this ridiculous wall and see the tree canopy swaying to and fro. I'll be able to see the light coming through the canopy in the mornings and see the mirrored hues in the evenings. But I won't see any shadows for I see no ground; and it's the shadows that are the most enchanting part of the light.