Life is a road, the song goes. Life is also a river, ever flowing. You can’t step in the same river twice, said the Greek philosopher Heraclitus. That’s because a river is in a constant state of flux. Ever changing and ever moving.
Nothing ever stays the same, that’s for sure. We only think it does.
My story begins in a Nigerian city. Some would call it a town but for me it’s a city, because there’s the little issue of relativity here. My universe, my viewpoint. At least for the length of this article.
A Nigerian city, like I said. A prince, who left home and settled elsewhere. Funny how so many princes always leave home to settle elsewhere. Too much infighting maybe? Or possibly shrinking resources faced with escalating demand – something has to give, and more often than not, it has to be a mortal. Since no one can be immortal except in loving memory.
A prince striking out into the relative unknown. After days, weeks or months of wandering, he arrives at a destination. Being a prince, of course, he goes to the King’s palace and receives a warm welcome, I
A warm welcome after which he settles down calmly into a new life, far from the madding crowd and eons away from the despair and disparity of his old life. His enemies left far behind in the old world while he
adapts courageously to the new one.
He adapts courageously to his new life. What does this new life entail? A stunning beauty admired by all who glimpse her. Yes, the king’s daughter, a princess. Her nickname was a reflection of her beauty, for
she shone like an astonishing flower. So she was called flower, or sunshine. This was the prize fit for a prince, and our prince counted himself lucky to get her. It was a match made in heaven, and consummated
here on earth. A king’s daughter and lovely as well. Two birds with only one stone and all forecasts of the future looked bright.
Did he ever wonder about his old life and the relatives he left behind? Maybe. Sometimes in the middle of his good fortune he would pause, as if remembering, then keep on with whatever task he had, with a steady head. Go back to the old life? That was out of the question. But sometimes he did miss them, even though he’d been forced to flee with barely time to spare. But such was life- was it really fair to hold it against them..besides, he missed his mother and siblings..
Many months passed and his son came. A miniature copy of himself, yet with all the features which made his mother beautiful. The prince could only look at him with pride. Another young scion of the princely line.
The nostalgia grew stronger, and turned to a solid sense of obligation. He had to go home and show his sons where they came from. They must know their roots, for a man without roots is a man without pedigree,
according to African lore. Occasionally he would look at his sons and sigh, firm in his determination.
The distant call of the ancient city remained a throbbing one, blocking all other priorities until heeded and obeyed. The Prince had returned. Not forever but for a day.
And this is a story repeated since time immemorial. You cannot step in the same river twice. And life is a river which keeps on flowing.