Winter time in the Middle East was always an exciting time. Everybody looked forward to this time of the year because it gave people a break from the sweltering heat and the humidity. It was that time of the year when people began to enjoy the outdoors. The summer months kept people indoors and restricted them to indoor activities. No wonder the malls and entertainment centres thrived the most during the summer months because these were basically the only places convenient for people to visit.
During the winter months, mountain and nature enthusiasts go camping and exploring in the mountains. During the day, they hiked, do a bike trail and ended up in a nearby beach for a swim and feel of the soft beach sand. Watching the calm quiet waters could be such a fascinating past time for some and even the roaring waves berthing every few seconds could infuse a natural sense of energy to fans.
In the night time, the fire is made, the logs are burning, dinner is being devoured and the folks are sitting around the fire, dancing, telling tales, singing and having a great time of laughter. The sky is the open roof, the moon and stars illuminating the open roof and smiling down upon the campers. Temperatures dropped terribly during the night time. That temperature drop freezes your head, freezes your feet, and freezes your hands and any part of your body that is exposed.
Some more wood is chucked into the hearth. The fresh logs catch fire, and people feel exhilarated. The heat and warmth generated is welcomed. People sing some more, dance some more and the beat goes on.
This year’s winter seemed intense. At Acacia forest, Dr. Bloom had just dismissed a class and wished everybody a happy weekend when Nash stayed back. He shook Dr. Bloom’s hand.
“I have a question for you doc.”
“Go ahead son” Dr. Bloom replied.
“Do you think I am going to pass your course?”
Dr. Bloom was taken aback. He didn’t see that coming. Nash’s eyes focused on the face of the professor. Earlier on the professor had shown the spreadsheet to the class and Nash’s row wasn’t that great. For him to pass, he needed a near miracle.
Nash was such a lovely kid, always on time for his lessons and doing all his homework. Just that he wasn’t the brightest of kids. His attitude was excellent. Dr. Bloom had tried everything possible to offer him extra support. So how could he look Nash in the eye now and tell him he needed a miracle to pass the course?
Dr. Bloom’s mind raced straight back to his last camping experience. He had taken his students out to Mount Tulip. It was a cold wintry night. They had driven for about four hours to get to the camping site. Max was supposed to have loaded the wood and somehow, he had forgotten. No one took notice of it until when they needed to get in some more wood and Dr. Bloom went to the truck to retrieve the wood. Then, it dawned on him that frost bites and cold would be their companion that night. What an error. What an oversight. Unthinkable! At 11pm in the night, the nearest supply store was one and a half hours away. That would mean three hours to and fro the supply store. Would it be worth it? People were already crying for wood because the fire was almost dying out and people were freezing. Dr. Bloom didn’t know how to break the news. He didn’t want to be a harbinger of bad news and disappointment.
He remembered how Therese didn’t want to come along giving the poor weather as her excuse. They had all worked at persuading her to come along, assuring her that the logs would be burning nonstop. Now the night was barely started and wood was in short supply. Within that split second, Dr. Bloom went into his thinking mode. He paced up and down the back side of the truck thinking of how to break the news and of possible solutions when his eyes caught something. He darted to it, touched it and rubbed his eyes. It was real, a pack of wood! It could have been left there by those who camped before them even though there was no evidence of prior campers. It must have been a divine orchestration, he still believed in that option. Whatever the option that yielded the logs, it was such a relief and joy for him. He walked back to the embers of fire and threw in some wood and in a moment, the lights flickered, some smoke emanated from the hearth and the folks rejoiced.
Dr Bloom cleared his throat, wondering what to say to Nash. It seemed that the look on people’s faces when it was time to stoke the fireplace with more firewood on mount Tulip wasn’t different from the current look on Nash’s face. Both were full of expectations. So, how could he look him in the eye and tell him he didn’t stand a chance? It would deflate him. It would ruin his life. Sometimes what people needed in life was just that little hope of ‘you are going to make it’. That might be the only fuel needed to stoke their efforts in life; it might be the only fuel they need to propel them to that extra level of attainment.
“Doctor, tell me the truth. I know my grades aren’t very great. Do you think I stand a chance?” Nash insisted.
Dr. Bloom looked straight into his eyes and put his right hand on his shoulder.
“Son, you stand every chance. Like that night when there was no hope of wood. I found wood, likewise to you. You stand the chance of passing as well, but you must first find the wood you need to light up your paths and warm you up to success”.
Nash didn’t have a clue what the professor was talking about. What wood? Which night? All that mattered to him was the fact that he heard “pass”. His face lit up. He extended his hand to the professor saying “I will do everything possible to earn the least mark to pass. I cannot afford not to pass. I don’t want to be left behind professor.”
“You will not be left behind. Make sure you are not left behind.”
“Thank you professor”
Nash walked out of the room with a new charge and surge of confidence and assurance.