What does the word “breeze” mean or connote, and how relevant is it to our day-to-day activities?
Breeze is defined as “a wind or current of air, especially a light or moderate one”; or used to reference “an easy task; something done or carried on without difficulty”; or even used in describing how someone “move in a self-confident” way; or how someone completes a task “in an easy or effortless manner, especially at less than full speed”.
To some, life could be a breeze – because cognitive aptitude is great; physical abilities are excellent; and relational attitude and skills are very rich. For them, tenacity comes easy. The power to forgive an offence and quickly move on without getting stuck in the rut is huge and pronounced in such situations.
Life, like the seasons of the year, looks like the yearly seasonal fall. The weather is cooler, the trees sway gracefully to the rhythm of the seasonal breeze, just as the wind blows moderately and pleasantly.
The breeze represents a season in the life of humankind when the oxygen of the environment fires up the energy in our lungs and brains. It is that period of life when the breeze of life from the west brings creativity and ingenuity.
It is the season of life when human confidence soars on the basis of an ever resurging insight and foresight that emanate from the joy of today as well as in the hope of a better tomorrow. The season of breeze opens our eyes to the accomplishments of yesterday, the vibrant efforts of today, and the possibilities of tomorrow.
Just as the breeze of every fall season brings beautiful tones and shades through the changing color of leaves, it also brings comfort, joy, and thanksgiving to the hearts of human beings.
The breeze of life shifts the gaze of humankind from bad to good news, from what separates to what connects all humans, and from a continuation of a life of war and sadness to how a life of peace and joy could be engendered.
This breeze brings freshness. It also refreshes. This breeze does not tear apart but reminds humanity, and even trees, of the need to sway rhythmically to the gentle breeze of life – one without violence or insolence.
Since the word “breeze” has the connotation of “ease and moderation”, inhabitants of this universe may learn a thing or two from it, especially in how to make this world an easy place for everyone, where modesty becomes a lifestyle; and where the environment is intentionally protected and cared for.
Human beings should breeze through life with little or no stress. Human beings should live and relate in a self-confident manner.
But what about the word “freeze”, what does it mean, and what kind of relationship could it have with “breeze”? Although defined as a “change from the liquid to the solid state by loss of heat”; especially when something becomes “hardened into ice or into a solid body”, “freeze” is also used as a command to alert people to “stop” or stay still without moving, especially if any level of risk or danger of violence is perceived or confirmed.
To “freeze” could also mean a state of preservation of an edible that could go bad if not preserved in a frozen state. In certain instances, relationships could be described as frozen when two individuals or organizations or nation-states have serious issues of disagreement, leading to a very limited or no communication, relationship, or connection in any way, form, or shape.
The season of winter is when the ground is frozen, when tree leaves would not blossom, when animals and human beings would go into hiding from the cold, and when crops will be denied the permission to germinate.
For those without insight, this is when to give up, close shop, retreat, surrender, lose heart, and become hopeless. But for the insightful, they have a completely different perspective on the issue. I grew up hearing the saying of the great sage and the first premier of the Western Region of Nigeria, Chief Obafemi Awolowo: “After rain comes sunshine; after darkness comes the glorious dawn”.
Awolowo knew the breeze and the freeze. During his season of breeze, he built the first university – the oldest degree awarding institution in Nigeria.
He built the stadium that hosted the first ever boxing world title fight in Africa. He introduced free education and free health services from the income accruing from one major income earner – cocoa. It was a time when many others never thought about those good things.
He maximized the moment by establishing the first television station in tropical Africa. The breeze enriched his brain and energized his base. The breeze what his appetite for good governance and raised the right army of supporters to see the projects through.
The breeze supported the cultivation of cocoa and the creative investment of all earnings. And when the freeze season came, he was roped into a conspiracy that saw his giant stride of development frozen. It took few more years before he was released after a bloody military coup and counter-coup. The rest is history.
Now, let’s switch to the breeze and the freeze of life. It is important to talk about the season of life when a human being has full mobility, and when age, not just the weather, begins to slow down such mobility.
The season of breeze in the life of any human being could run from birth till age 50. For some, it could be earlier than 50. But it is usually the period when an individual can boast of good health, including but not limited to great speed in moving, dancing, jumping, reading and writing.
This is when an individual finds tasks a lot easy to complete. For many, the freeze season starts around age 65 or 70 – when body joints are constantly in pain, when internal organs begin to malfunction, when eyesight begins to fail, when hearing starts to go deaf, and even when walking on both legs becomes a luxury!
The months of September, October and November will continue to remind inhabitants of places where the season of fall leads to that of winter that life is about breeze and freeze – a time to enjoy the beauty of cool breeze in an atmosphere of joy while consciously working on how best to welcome the impending cold freeze that is bound to follow.
We are called to remember that after the breeze of life comes the freeze of death. And we must enjoy the moment while we prepare for the unstoppable.
Yes, it is also a reminder to all of us on this side of eternity – here on earth, that we must enjoy our time of breeze when we can still walk, talk, eat, meet, greet, laugh, cry, and even merry.
We must also remember that for each one, a time of freeze will eventually come one day – when our hearts will stop beating, when our brain will shut down, when our feelings will cease, when our eyes will desist from seeing, mouth will forever be zipped, hands will disobey the stimulating command to touch, and legs will refuse to carry the body that by then could no longer respond to any sensitization.
During this season of breeze, let us be like the bees and make sweet honey, enjoy our cheese, bend our knees to appease and say please to those with the expertise and the right degrees that can help us avoid the unease of the disease that can tease, sleaze, seize and squeeze us to sneeze and wheeze until we finally freeze!
(❚ Dr. Sunday Akin Olukoju is the Director of Distance Education of Providence Theological Seminary, a community newspaper correspondent, and the president of a community organization)