A whaler sets sail about 5AM each morning.  He casts his sails to the wind and lets them carry him.

I suppose that you would think that most whalers set sail from Dar-es-Salaam because that is one of TZ’s Indian Ocean ports.  A smaller port would make sense, also.  Surprise!  Arusha boats its share of whalers, too.

I don’t know if Arusha whalers really try to fish.  Perhaps, like Christians, they crusade as “fishers of men”.  Not sure.  But their Muslim faith carries their voices on the still winds of morning air to all parts of the neighborhood.  (Not sure why, but the mosque in which he prays uses a loudspeaker.  Perhaps Allah hears prayers better that way.)

Our neighborhood fisher casts little talent to the wind.  Some would say that he can’t carry a tune in a bucket.  I say his boat can’t carry a cargo back to shore.  The melody stinks.  Like dead fish.  In a warm, dark place.  A week old.  He literally whales (wails?).  He tends to search for a note like a friend who just lost his contact lens, fishing for it on the floor.  All over the place.  No systematic search.  He hopes that he can find it near his feet before it walks off by itself.

The search begins with a relatively low note, and wanders lower.  It hovers each step on a ramp before proceeding to the next step lower.  Like a blindfolded man, exploring with his foot, lest his nose bump.  Not a regular step, but an exploratory one.

He insults the worst of any singer that I’ve ever sat next to in church.  I’m rather sure that Allah has tried to turn a deaf ear, now just wants the prayers to end.  Perhaps he’ll be forgiven, not necessarily for righteousness’ sake.  Divine prudence says, “Got to do something to calm the waters!  And the still breeze.  OK, fella, just shut up!”

He incites the dogs.  He inspires the roosters.  They bark, they crow.  The sun has not yet cracked the skyline, or even threatened with a pre-sunrise thrust of light.  If he’s asking for forgiveness, he must be thinking of something terrible that he did yesterday.  Of course, it could just be divine insurance that he looks for.  Maybe his sin didn’t completely wash away the last time.  Or, he’s planning an otherwise unforgiveable jihad, even though these generally carry out in the name of . . . .

Anyway, I’m awake now.  No going back to sleep.  Already showered and shaved.  I remind myself of the cultural significance of the experience.  It’s wonderful!  I love it!  (Forgive me, Lord. I just lied!  Twice!)

I may have to ask my Lord for forgiveness, also.  Hope he’s not run out of love.  Or patience.

I’m afraid, I don’t sing very well, either.  Oh, oh!

I think I’ll pray quietly.