But not everyone feels equally the yearning for the serenity of retreat in loneliness. For those who do, loneliness is the banquet table on which the food of the soul is served; it is the spring from which gushes the water that wets the patched spirit. Escape from the maddening crowd of revelers is the retreat route to Eden, where a reflexive vision of self awaits. Not to find the narrow, straight and right path to Eden is to risk ending up on the broad, crooked path to perdition.
reporter's visit to the University of Ibadan Botanic Garden was the culmination of a search from a lonely, edenic spot in a city of 5 million, away from the hustle and bustle of revelers' noisy festivities that ring hollow and superficial to one with a tendency to heavy bouts of reflexive introversion.
The search for a place where he could be alone with himself had led to the misadventure of visit to the Agodi Gardens
, and the self-inflicted Dantean ordeal of wandering lost in the pestilent woods of hell, having strayed from the "right path," into a straitplace of infernal darkness, where the tormenting fires, burning sulfur and brimstone, are not literal flames but "flames" of unfulfilled yearnings heaped as hot coals in the hedonic heart of the seeker assailed by an everpresent soutaned preacher
whose words witness to the condition of his soul in the torments of desire:
"Hell is the condition of inanition of the soul of the unsaved yearning for its spiritual nutriment; a dark strait and dark prison, increased by an awful stench... all the filth of the world, all the offal and scum run there as the vast reeking sewer of the Ogunpa stream... yea, the air of hell is the vapor emanating from putrid corpses lain rotten and decomposing in a jellylike mass of liquid corruption on which prey flames giving off dense choking fumes of nauseous loathsome decomposition... the sickening stench multiplied a million-fold over and over... millions upon millions of fetid carcasses massed together in a reeking darkness..."
The visit to Agodi Gardens
only stoked the flames of his yearnings, sharpened the raving hunger in his heart for indulgence in an orgy of retreat, where his spirit may sink into a state of blessed, contrite peace, abandon itself to riotous reveling in reflexive brooding in a place beyond the reach of the everpresent preacher whose words evoke tormenting visions of hellish places.
A loved one suggested the University of Ibadan Botanic Garden. But at first, he had been skeptical of the suggestion. Was he being led down yet another path to a place of torment, abode of devils and demons and horned principalities?
1. SOLILOQUY IN THE GROVES OF EDEN
"And Yhvh 'loyim planted a garden eastward in Eden."
He went to the University of Ibadan Botanic Garden after Christmas Day, to be alone with himself; that his body may repose in silence while his soulbird awakens, spreads its wings and lift in stealthy silence to its haunts.
It was fortunate that he took the loved one's advise, for the garden proved the place he sought for deliverance from the chains, the shackles of extroverted commitment to the crowds.
2. WANKING ORGASM IN SOLITUDE: A REFLEXIVE VISION OF SELF
And he fell asleep in the shade of a mighty tree and saw in his dreams, a vision of himself: A wizened warlock, a hoary Merlindruid, a sorcerer as of legends of old, an alchemist privy to the arcane secrets of Trimegistus. He imagined himself a Shaman draped in birds' feathers, wielding a double-spiral wand, a phallic dancewand, hopping and prancing, dancing the ritual dance of life.
He dreamed a dream of himself, a wizard in conical top hat, sequestered in a dark, muggy, torchlit, cobweb draped, bat infested subterranean cavern, laboring in secret, in solitude, fashioning a weapon; a weapon of words, a potent hex to deliver himself, the soul of his world from shackles of deadweight drag that bind the soul in irrevocable compact with death.
3.A MUTANT SPAWN IN THE BOG OF THE WOMB OF BEGINNINGS
"In the virgin womb of imagination was the word made flesh."
James Joyce: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
And he also had a dream, that She would seek him out at the nick of time; find him at the hour of his dire need; at the moment of perdition, the only one of his kind, at Calvary's date with a shameful end. She shall barter his soul for a guilt lamb's; She shall redeem his life from the deathrow warden's charge. She shall hold him in Her arms, The Spawn of the witcheries of her youth.
You found me just in time, he cries.
You weren't difficult to find, she says. You are relief in this numbing landscape of human sameness.
And is this a work of art? A breakthrough in Knowledge? An aberration of mental process? A manifestation of an unknown tropical malady?
Yet, She'd always been the woman of his dreams, and he the Quixotic knight-errant in a forlorn love's quest under the scorching heat of the African sun.