In Frozen Moment Serves as a Reference Point in a Timeless Land, Emil Sher pens about the days he spent in Africa, away from his homeland, teaching children. He lived in the land of which the world was oblivious. Botswana, between South Africa and Zimbabwe, was his new abode where he lived in a shady hut and looked upon the life around which his keen eyes. The place he was dwelling in was very different from where he had grown up. He gives expression to his memories which he had preserved in the corner of his heart in this writing which was published in Montreal Gazette in 1983.
He is reminiscent of his experiences of living in the village of Bobonong in the country. He vividly describes the land and the avid reader can only get immersed in the quintessential description of the imagery and the experiences. Sher’s picturesque description aptly stimulates the reader to envisage the ambiance where he dwelled for two long years of his life.
When a person is displaced from the place where he or she has grown up, he takes with him brimming memories of that place which are evoked by the pangs of certain emotional stimuli at a time when the individual is dwelling at some distant place. In Sher’s case too, the scenario was similar. He had imbibed the features of the ambiance he was living in. The life at this village was in juxtaposition to the life he had led back at his home. His descriptive piece brings out how his life had been transformed by the markers of the village life.
He remembers with clarity his student, the person whose name he did not know, the roads and every tit-bit of the life. He uses the stylistic device of description to create the aura which aptly converses the imagery of Bobonong and his message. He talks of how the memories of his home were evoked as he looked at the picture which was gifted to him by a friend as he left his homeland. All the experiences of his past life shrouded his heart as he concentrated his attention on the picture. However, he did not miss home much, probably due to the presence of the picture which was like a reference point to him now. It reminded him of the time when he had left Montreal and made him envisage the day when he would embark upon his journey to return.
How he describes the details of the village life in the first part of Frozen Moment Serves as a Reference Point in a Timeless Land makes the reader comprehend how much engaged the author was in the land of Botswana. After having left his readers lost in the exotica, he goes on to describe his reminiscence of his home. Thus, his message leaves a mark on the hearts of the readers who understand the emotion of the innermost core of his heart. His message attains universality and the writing becomes an archetypal description for all the individuals who experience similar times in their lives. Indeed, all the people who live away from their home are reminded of it through several memoirs and souvenirs which they retain with themselves as the memory of their home. Human nature endeavors to hold on to the soothing memories through the bits which are of emotional significance.
Emil Sher conveys the message of human sustenance through this writing. He found himself among people whom he did not know and whose culture was different from his own. The land was in stark contrast to the Western life and the village could provide him with no amenities which he could have experienced back home in Canada. The land was timeless as it seemed to be a place where actions went on eternally. The human soul did not have the options of getting lost in the gazillion occupations of life. Rather, the author could only sit by his window and experience the occurrences outside. The sun seemed to have replaced the clock’s role. He was experiencing something that could never have enriched the experiences of the people back home. Indeed, the experiences and time had metamorphosed him as an individual and he now looked at life differently.
His descriptive uniqueness hogs the attention of the reader at the very inception of the piece. In the due course of the description, Sher stirs the mind and perfectly places the two contrasting worlds in juxtaposition. The shift in the nature of experiences is evident and completes the piece. It brings out the innermost thoughts and delves deep into the author’s psyche. As the heart finds solace in a timeless land, the frozen moments only serve the purpose of the reference points of departure and the impending arrival to the homeland. Memories meander their way through in our hearts and link our past with the omniscient present, thus completing our lives.