The Gentle Arts of Woodwork
The monsoon is still at least a month away but evening rains have started.
With the rains come ever-increasing numbers of mosquitoes.
Insect repellents work well for evening excursions but leave you feeling uncomfortably warm and sticky.
When I close the door at dusk
The mosquitoes migrate instead through the louvre-shuttered windows.
The problem does not unduly concern me but overseas guests are cruelly targeted when they stay. My sister never complains but, on leaving India, often looks in need of an urgent dermatological opinion.
I seek advice.
My carpenter, who aptly lives in the local village of Nazareth, almost disappointingly, is named is Sebastian.
He suggests constructing fitted mesh screens across the windows and doors.
Sebastian sends his men. Their tools are minimal, their skills impressive.
No work bench or rulers are used.
Most is done by hand
And the wood is held by a bare foot,
The older craftsman teaching his pupil.
Some window shapes are simple to frame and mesh.
Others, more tricky.
Soon the project is more than half completed and the unwelcome mosquitoes noticeably fewer in numbers.
But outside, a different sort of carpentry is happening.
My house-boy urgently calls: “Papa, please you come!”
In the empty plot across the lane, beyond the wall and cables, a man is perched on a tree.
High on the tree.
The tree top has been cut through and folds over before falling.
The rest of the trunk soon follows. After a few hours all the trees in the plot have gone.
I am left to ponder future developments.
What will I face when I look out from the door?