Sunset…Sunday evening…day’s end. We know that days end, that weekends end, that lives end. Sunset…Sunday evening…day’s end.
So much happens when you babysit a two-year-old on a Sunday morning. She climbs up on your lap and sees the lone piece of a building set sitting on your desk beside your laptop and she asks a question, “What is that, Grandma?”
And I know her question isn’t a purely factual one. She doesn’t want me to say, “It’s part of your building set, sweetie.” It is an invitation to enter that world of pretending that she so loves. I suggest it is a cell phone, but that doesn’t catch her imagination this morning. “It could be a crayon,” I say and, yes, that is what she pretends it is. And we use it to colour a pretend sun, a pretend moon and a pretend orange, all on the surface of my desk. “Eat the orange, Grandma,” she says and then the building set piece transforms into a knife, which she uses to cut the pretend orange, so that I can eat it.
Later, as she sits on the veranda ledge, holding onto the grills and swinging her legs outside, we discuss the ways in which we are the same as our dogs outside and different from them. She likes same and different. We have ears, we have eyes, we have mouths. We have hands and feet, but they have paws. “I have toes and Bala has toes.” But no hands. No fingers. And suddenly we are into a long discussion about what we can do with our hands and fingers that the dogs can’t do. Colour with crayons. Put on our shoes. Pick up a piece of tomato to eat.
Tomatoes are red. “Red is my favourite colour,” she says, as she picks up a piece of tomato from the bowl and puts in into her mouth. “Watermelon is red too,” I say, only to be told, “Looks like pink to me.” And now we talk about the colours of all the foods we like to eat. Brown naseberries and lentil stew. Orange carrots and pawpaw and pumpkin soup. Green callaloo and broccoli. And what colour exactly is rice and peas?
Time and perspective shift in the company of my granddaughter. Such a gift.
It’s a week since the New Year began. I had planned to do this post last week to welcome the new year. I had intended to write a much longer, more reflective post, but I didn’t. So here are the two photos I was going to use to illustrate that more interesting post that I didn’t write.
Sunset, December 31, 2018
Sunrise, January 1, 2019
Happy New Year!
The morning after Gilbert had raked its eye across Jamaica’s spine, blasting through decades of complacency and careless wishes to experience a real hurricane, I went to see how a nearby neighbour was doing. Part of his roof was sitting in our front yard and when I got to his house, I could see that all of the roof had been blown off during the storm. He was all right, he said. He and his sister, both of them quite elderly, had retreated to the only part of the house with a concrete slab roof and his family had called and were on their way to help.
But, he told me, I could expect the next mango season to be a bountiful one. The hurricane would have pruned branches, shaken up the roots and new life would be coursing through the trees that had survived.
And he was right. The massive old Bombay mango tree in our back yard has never borne fruit as abundantly as it did in the post- Gilbert season. Not in the thirty years since Sept 1988.
It was an old and venerable tree even then. Older and even more venerable now. It has had encounters with subsequent storms that have brushed past since. This year hasn’t been a very good season for the old Bombay tree, in fact. Relatively few in number, with a high incidence of worms in the ripe fruit.
The height of the hurricane season is still to come.
I don’t believe that there have to be storms for there to be good crops, not literally or figuratively. But my Bombay mango tree may be aligned with my old (long deceased) neighbour’s words.
“You’ve likely seen a bumper sticker or a sign that reads “I’d rather be…” How would you fill in the blank? Golfing? Running? Fishing? Something else entirely? What activity do you enjoy most?”
This week’s challenge was an easy one for me. Reading. I’d rather be reading.
“A single image can encompass what would otherwise require a long written narrative — the characters, the setting, even the plot….For this week’s challenge, do some visual storytelling with your photography. “
A beautiful setting, a beautiful occasion, with friends looking on…
“This week, show us something (or someone) sweet.”
I decided not to overthink this week’s challenge and go with something obvious. Ice cream. Coffee ice cream in particular. And Devon House coffee ice cream best of all, if you can.
“In this week’s challenge, share with us something that is beloved.”
Moments of solitude are something beloved by me. To sit on my roof by myself and watch the clouds in their infinite variety of shapes and colours, like these mammatus clouds the other morning…
Or on a cottage balcony, way up in the hills, looking down at city lights…
Or having breakfast by myself in a town in a country a long way from home…Time alone…with a book, with a cup of tea, with a journal, in nature…lovely…
On Sunday morning, I sat on my roof watching the last sunrise for 2017. My tea for that morning was tumeric and ginger, sweetened with Belcour honey, from hives my brother and sister-in-law have in the Blue Mountains. There was very little cloud cover, providing a rather minimalist early sunrise sky.Later the sun came up over the hills……outlining them in differing shades of grey.The next day I was up on the roof again, to watch the first sunrise for 2018. Tea was peppermint…with Belcour honey. It was a very different morning, overcast, with heavy banks of grey clouds.But the sun came up. As it always does. With unremarkable regularity.
These divisions…such as the old year into the new year…are arbitrary but useful structures for us, reminding us of the passage of time and ordering our lives to some extent. I enjoy these formal endings and beginnings and some of the rituals associated with them. Not all, mind you. But what I am growing to love more and more are the rhythms of nature. As I view them from my roof…because I am not a great outdoor person, hiking or cycling or similar activities. I am the person who sits on her roof, observing the movement of the sun, moon and stars, the daily flight of birds through this space, the trees blossoming and other such things. It is amazing what I can see when I sit still for a while….
On the 4th day of 2018, it’s not too late to wish you a Happy New Year!
There is a whole lot about our country that needs radical change and we know it. And still we love this place. Fi Wi Jamaica, the University of Technology’s “national social intervention project which seeks to bring awareness to and, ideally, protection for targeted socially oppressed groups and individuals in Jamaica”, sponsored a Twitter event today, National Heroes’ Day.
Many individuals and organizations joined in:
I joined in with a series of tweets of my own:
If you want to learn more about the Fi Wi Jamaica project, take a look at their page on Facebook or read a recent press release of theirs, which blogger Emma Lewis shared in a post: Fi Wi Jamaica: Past, Present and Future