Right Steps & Poui Trees


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Took Time On National Heroes’ Day To #BigUpJamaica

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. BigUpJamaica - Fi Wi Jamaica

Many individuals and organizations joined in:BigUpJamaica - PMI - 16-10-17

BigUpJamaica - EqualityJA

BigUpJamaica - Damien Williams

BigUpJamaica - Flagstaff Tours 16-10-17

I joined in with a series of tweets of my own:BigUpJamaica - SG 1

BigUpJamaica - SG 2

BigUpJamaica - SG 3

BigUpJamaica - SG 4

BigUpJamaica - SG 5

BigUpJamaica 6

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

 


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350 Words or Less: In Which I Rant Briefly About Banks

The Present

Today I learned that my bank branch will close its drive through facility at the end of April! In the grand scheme of things, this is no disaster. Actually, in no scheme of things is it a disaster, but I am annoyed. I like drive through banking.

The Past

From the days when it made it easier to get banking done with my children in tow, to the present when my knees react badly to standing in lines, I have really liked drive through banking. I have preferred to sit in the car, eating a patty, drinking some coconut water, while listening to a talk show or reading a book, rather than waiting in a line in a banking hall. I avoid banking halls like the plague. I associate them with long lines, long waits and increasingly short fuses!

The Future

When I asked the drive through teller where the nearest drive through facility would be after April, she told me of a branch halfway across town. So that’s out. I asked her what my other options would be and they were:

a) online banking (which I already do as much as possible)

b) the automatic tellers (which often involve standing in long lines and sometimes do not provide as much privacy as I would like)

c) the (dreaded) banking hall.

Thoughtful Concluding Analysis

Maybe it’s a cost-cutting measure. Maybe it’s increased efficiency for the bank, if not for me. Maybe it’s because there’s a gremlin on some committee in the bank whose sole purpose is finding ways and means to irritate and annoy customers. (Can’t let them get too comfortable, you know! Always keep them wondering what’s next! Hehehe!) Yes…that third possibility….


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Alone At Sunset: Weekly Photo Challenge – Solitude

“This week, show us what being alone means to you.”

Solitude is air and water and sunlight to me. That is hyperbole, yes, but I say it anyway. Without daily periods of solitude, I wilt. Alone with a book or with my camera, inside my home or somewhere outside. I relish the time I spend on my own.

And sometimes I see solitude reflected back at me. This American kestrel on a lamp post at sunset, for example.kestrel-on-lamp-post

Weekly Photo Challenge – Solitude


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350 Words Or Less: The New Year Begins

It is an artificial designation…that one day the old year ends and the next day the new year begins. But it serves a useful purpose in the calendar, Gregorian or otherwise. It provides a moment for reflection on the year past and contemplation of the year to come.p1060663

Where I was for the last sunrise of 2016, the sky was almost cloudless, and the sun came up over the hills with a bright golden glow. I greeted it with Lorna Goodison’s “The Chant of Light” from her poem “Ceremony for the Banishment of the King of Swords” in the collection “Heartease”, part of which reads:

We have light.

Only who gave it

can put it out

We have light

diffusing dark

cancelling doubt…

We have light

You see

We have light.

Sunrise on the first day of 2017 was very different. There was heavy cloud in the sky, and I couldn’t see the sun itself as it rose above the hills, only its light reflected on the clouds.p1060738p1060826

The New Year designation reminds that we have a chance to begin again. Not from scratch. Not with a slate wiped clean. But that we can renew efforts, that we can make different choices, that we can review and set new intentions. (I still remember the voice of the first GPS system I experienced in a car, almost 10 years ago. When you veered from the set route, the GPS voice took a moment to set the new route, all the time saying “Recalibrating….Recalibrating.”) While appreciating the New Year’s opportunity for recalibrating, however, it’s good to remember that this opportunity exists at every point in the year. One of my favourite affirmative statements is: The point of power is always in the present moment.

Happy New Year!


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Always Heading Home: Weekly Photo Challenge – Path

“For this photo challenge, show us what path means to you.”

In the end, the path always leads me home. A physical walkway leading to my front door, such as this one. Or an emotional path leading to the safe harbour that family is for me. Or the inward and expansive path of spiritual journeying. In the end, the path always leads me home.p1060260

Weekly Photo Challenge – Path


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Sometimes The Journey Can Seem Long: Weekly Photo Challenge – New Horizon

Sometimes the journey up the rock/mountain/current challenge can seem long and all-consuming.p1020036You may be tempted to turn back.p1020037But you keep going till you reach the top.p1020039And suddenly a whole new world, with new horizons, comes into view!p1020025

Weekly Photo Challenge – New Horizon


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The One That Got Away

I stepped out of the kitchen door and looked up at the evening sky. Venus shone brightly, next to an incredible crescent moon, a slightly bronze crescent against the shadowy full circle of the moon. I stood still, watching for a few minutes.

“I’d love to try and photograph this,”  I thought. An amateur photographer still exploring a new camera. I wondered what images it would be possible to capture.

“Later, though,” I thought. And what I needed to do at the time actually was important, not one of those flaky things that often takes precedence in life.

It was much later when I had the time to remember Venus, the moon and my camera. But the sky had changed by then and, even from the roof, I couldn’t find the planet and the moon.

The next evening, I looked at the sky again at about the same time, hoping for another chance. But the sky was really cloudy and though I could see the light of Venus and the moon shining behind the clouds, there was nothing that called out for a photo.

That’s one that got away. One that is imprinted on my memory, but not captured for posterity. There are moments like that, fleeting, stunning in their beauty. They may not stand still long enough to be caught on camera, but a pause to recognise and enjoy them can be exquisite and enough.


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River Sunrise

A windblown leaf chases round and round a chair leg, like a playful mouse. I put a towel on the iron patio chair before sitting down. It is much colder in this Wisconsin river valley than on my roof at home. Mist hangs over the water, as the sun burnishes the riverside trees. As the steam rises from my cup of tea. As I listen to a crow cawing in a leafless tree nearby. The bright yellow down near the river bank is an autumn tree; it reminds me of my garden’s pouis. Sunlight stored in blossoms and leaves spilling out in profusion, drawing my attention. It isn’t home. But it reminds me…there’s sunrise everywhere.p1030951


350 Words or Less: Why I Hate Sunday Evenings

I never did homework on Friday evening. I would settle down for uninterrupted hours of reading whatever book I was buried in at the time, nibbling a Mars bar or a peanut butter and guava jelly sandwich made with hardough bread. The beginning of the weekend was just too wonderful to be wasted doing homework.

Saturday also had its collection of other activities…playing interminable games of Risk, a visit to Readers’ Book Store, involuntarily helping to hang out baskets of wet laundry on the backyard clothes line, watching television and yes, more reading. Why would you waste a good good Saturday doing homework?

Sunday morning was a lazy time. Maybe sleeping late. Or a great breakfast if Daddy decided to cook whatever else and his johhny cakes. Or a trip out to Naggo Head, before the sea cut that channel separating the road from the long stretch of beach, with the obligatory fish and bammy to round off the morning, before we dozed on the drive back into Kingston, damp and with sandy feet.

Sometime around 4 or 5 o’clock, I could no longer ignore that the next day was Monday, there would be school and I hadn’t yet done my homework. I would often have done the more interesting homework during the week and would be left with the slog work like math. But even if I had something interesting to do, the pressure of a last minute deadline was bound to cause anxiety. Especially if I wanted to finish in time to watch Sunday night television, such as Tom Jones’ or Englebert Humperdinck’s variety shows or The Forsyte Saga or War and Peace.

That perennial homework anxiety, lasting for many years, has forever coloured my Sundays and has contributed to my strong dislike of Sunday evenings.


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350 Words or Less: Grabbing Women’s Body Parts

Many years ago I was driving behind a minibus along Barbican Road, heading towards Barbican Square. The conductor was standing on the bus step, half hanging out of the bus as it moved along in the line of traffic. Just as we passed the intersection with Garth Road, the conductor reached out and grabbed the breast of a schoolgirl walking on the sidewalk, facing the oncoming traffic. The conductor laughed as the bus continued on its way. The adolescent schoolgirl, in her crisply pressed uniform, had a look of horror on her face, as she drew her arms up in front of her in a protective gesture.

Last week a video came to light in which Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is heard saying the following, among other things:

“I’m automatically attracted to beautiful [women]—I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything … Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.”

hands

Trump, in his apology or justification, said this was just “locker room talk”. As discussion about his comments continues, a number of women are speaking out about their experiences with Trump kissing, groping or grabbing them in the past.

Is there need for more discussion about who has the right to grab women’s body parts? In workplaces, homes, social settings, the street, schools, universities, public transportation, church, Parliament? Is grabbing a woman’s body parts without her consent ever acceptable? Does it matter who you are or who the woman/girl is? If you have power or are a star or are in a moving vehicle is it okay? Does her age or what she’s wearing or the size of her breasts or her perceived level of beauty matter?

Across the world, to varying degrees, women’s bodies are viewed with a sense of entitlement by men, viewed by many as there to be grabbed in one way or another, physically, verbally, metaphorically, legislatively, in whole or in part – breast, bottom, vagina, uterus.

And for many people, ah nuh nuttn.