Dear─ I thank you for your last letter you wrote to me, almost 25 years ago, to encourage me to be patient, to persist and persevere in the writing business when going was very hard. It’s good that you wrote those words to fire me. I’m still keeping these words. They’re great! I name these the 3Ps. It’s rather unfortunate on my part for not thanking you all these years. I was going through found materials (back issues of magazines and newspapers) in the abandoned mechanic shop in the fields of a dilapidated yellow house when I came across the article, “An Audubon for Today”, on the exquisitely detailed work of J. Fenwick Lansdowne, the natural successor to the greatest of bird artist. I remember in those years, how you were dreaming to become a successful rare bird painter. Now that you’re 100, do you still have that dream? I know you’ve many things on your mind, when you still divide yourself in three, one in the southern part of Ghana, one in Spain, and the last one in the Turtle Mountains, North Dakota. Aren’t you tired of all the voluntary bodies and spirits you’ve placed on such provision from time to time because of shortage of restrictions on your part? Though you labour without the use of controlled materials, and to scheme these are necessary either to secure the continuance of existing material or to adapt newly purchased material and put into use, subject to the work costing not less than the complete work of a man. Life is good at this age. I’ve been wondering for a long time what it means to grow older and once you’re administering the arrangements for making an essential foundation unless there’s whole-hearted recognition of the importance of the social and cultural life of the community building./ I don’t know whether I’m still living in hamlets or a village when the lines aren’t well defined. However, I’ve left Ansaful and have found myself at Opembo, also a hamlet or a village with forest reserve, almost like Ansaful. I don’t know whether the trees at my backyard at Ansaful are still living or they’ve been chopped down. When I was there, the folks nearby wanted to use them for fire woods or charcoal and because of my presence they weren’t able to achieve that goal. The trees invited different birds, which kept their nests in the canopies. There were small different species of hummingbirds. They’d a beautiful character. How they used every means they’d to protect anything that aided them to survive. Maybe wanting to a bird artist and wanting to make this one as part of my life’s work, I’ve surveyed my needs of the area and taking careful stock of all my shortcomings. I’ve compelled myself to see what is behind in the future. That’s why in those days I walked long distances from College Library, South Campus, through the night along Kojo Beedu Street, to Ansaful. I walked alone with my other self. Sometimes, my nurse, who became my close friend, though she was five or more years older than me and a mother of two sons, arranged for a taxi to carry me home. However, I refused. I needed more time and space to create even when I was walking. Life was good. Now that I’m in my hundredth year, I’m focusing on rare and smallest humming birds. And my role is a newer development at my cottage at Opembo, which has my small studio for nearly 10 years. To paint these birds, I think, I must be narrow to get things going in that way, in the way these humming birds do. Maybe I must resume my study on bird anatomy and spend five hours a day for this painting. I’m approaching this in the form of miniature art. I’m also thinking of a monograph project on these birds with illustrations. I now busying myself in preparations: I’m a little beside the huge wooden easel not forgetting to embrace your pediatrics in the matter. I’m pleased not to relinquish all interference in my affairs. A clean, clear light is pouring down on the ground of the neglected garden I’ve inherited, and avenue in front of packed rocks, I try to catch the wind, which has been off the grass field for days, is from a different quarter now. A flower is found in a pool of shadows, bearing my name. I’ve finished a painting. I’m pined, satisfied. Sincerely,─

One thought on “Only a flower bearing my name by Jacob Kobina Ayiah Mensah

  1. While I’m a bit perplexed by this piece (would paragraphing help me? maybe), I have read it twice and found myself enjoying the quirky and exotic events and place names. Thanks.

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