Ahhh yes, the sun is beating down on the earth, that tropical breeze is whistling through the trees, powder puff clouds floating across the sky, its nice and quiet. Hmmm, I think its a great time to take a walk. Through the flower garden, in between the bougainvillea plants, past the hibiscus trees. Yes man, when the scent of one blossom fades, it is replaced by another. Walk through the knee high grass, through the mass of butterflies fluttering around, past the plum trees, past the mango tree, under the bird’s nest hanging from the branch of the soursop tree. Now I can hear the ocean, the flock of seagulls diving for their food. Down to the edge of the cliff, find my favorite to sit on. Ahhh yes, that cool sea breeze tickles my skin. So I will sit here, feeling the heat of the sun, then the relief of the cool breeze and watch the emerald ocean, the white clouds performing a theatrical masterpiece against the blue skies. Small boats lazily gliding by, flying fish popping out of the ocean. Yes, its Sunday, peace day on the island.
I stood in the kitchen looking down at the bowl of seasoned fish. It was just yesterday I was sitting in the veranda watching some butterflies fluttering around the rose bushes when I heard the fish vender yelling, “Get yuh balahuuu buyers!!” I jumped up and ran to back of the house where Mommy Charles was washing clothes. “De fish lady outside Mamie.” I said. Mommy Charles went into her room and came back with two dollars. “Tell her to give yuh two dollars worth.” She said handing me two pale red crumpled dollar bills. I took them and ran off, out the front door, down the street. I was half way down the road when the jagged edges of the gravel covered rode bit into my feet. Damn I forgot to put on my slippers. I stopped and listened for the vender, she had not yelled in a few minutes. I heard the chatter of people on a side street to my right and turned in that direction. There she was, a bamboo basket perched on a red turban on her head. A group of people surrounded her, some holding dollar bills screaming what they wanted. I took off, hoping to get there before all the fish was gone. Before I got to her I started shouting, “Two dollars worth, two dollars worth!” I knew if Mommy Charles knew I was acting like that she would be less than please, but damn it I wanted some fish. The fisherwoman smiled as I ran in my skinny arms flailing over my head. She sat the basket down and turned to me. I looked into the basket expecting to see flying fish but instead I saw Jacks, one of my favorite. The woman dug into he basket with both hands and motioned for me to hold out the plastic back I hand in my hand. She dumped the fish in it and I was about to close the bag when she smiled and motioned with my head to keep it opened. She picked another handful and dumped it into the bag, the silver, black and gray fish sparkled in the sunlight. I gave her the two dollars and thanked her and turned and ran back to the house. Now to sit and watch Mommy Charles do her magic before she fried up the Jacks.
Ahhhh yes, mid marning Sunday on the island. No hustling to get to work, no traffic, no loud chatter of people, no loud music. Yes man, it is a good time to take a walk. Watch the small fishing boats bob in the water, sit on the edge of the side walk and dangle your feet into the clear ocean, watch the fish glitter in the morning sunlight, listen to the church bells chime in the city, watch a group of children diving off the concrete jetty, here the stevedores sing as they begin to load the banana boat. Sit there and daydream about the destination of the great ship until its lunch time. Walk up the cobble stones alley back to your house, past the Catholic church and hear the haunting melody of hymns. Stop at the bottom of the concrete steps and smell the food. Close your eyes and take a mental picture of the Sunday morning scenery you just left.
So I can cook up some food. But damn it, the rain was pounding on the galvanize roof, the wind was whipping the coconut branches, Stray dogs lay under the banana tree using the big leaves as shelter. Man I wanted to cook on the bloody coal pot, not the stove. So I brought the coal pot into the kitchen, fill it with coals, pour a little kerosene on it and blazed it up. Peeled the green bananas and plantains, washed the sweet potatoes, yams, tanyas, got out the avocados. Now all the provisions were ready for cooking. Then its time to wash out the salt fish I had soaking, get some onions, garlic, tomatoes and seasoning, put the frying pan on the coal pot, poured some coconut oil in there and fry up the salt fish, oh man, that scent mixed in with the smoke that bellowed out of the kitchen. Now my belly rumbling, the rain was real heavy outside now, there was something about rain and smoke I liked. When the salt fish was done, it was time to boil the provisions. Only one drink will go with this meal, a nice, tall, cold glass of guava juice,
ahhh yes. And when all is prepared, I sat in the veranda, watching the rain fall, eating the food made for a tropical king.
Hmmm, what would hit the spot while I sit out here watching the clouds float by, watching the stars fade into the blue skies, listening to the donkey bray, children in the vegetable gardens helping their parents work, ahhh yes, some melons, now that go hit that spot.
Ahhh Look at the village, look at how peaceful it is nah man. I could hear the birds and them singing like crazy, that melody sweet for so, just l like an old time calypso. Now the rooster join in with a powerful solo. I tell you what, this symphony sound better than Sunday marning church singing. Oh wait, here comes the back rhythm section as the wind sweep through the bamboo in the back yard. Oh yes, let me stand here and close me eyes for a second, yes, that is it, let that early marning breeze tickle me skin, ahhhh, nice and cool. Ok, that good, let me sit down here and look out at the hills and them, watch them turn from first light gray to tropical green. Yes man, the best way to start me weekend, right here looking out at the village.
Neighbour, neighbor, get yuh lazy self up nah, its market day. I want to get there before dem greedy people take all de best fruit. Yes mon, I want to make de best fruit punch dis weekend, I go experiment, wid Mangoes, soursoup, guava, and maybe some mamie apples too. Wah yuh say, dat sound nasty, guil, doh leh me box yuh. Is yuh who drink up all de last batch I made yuh know. Ohhh so not yuh saying is because I put rum in it. Gurl, shut up yuh drunk ass and come leh we go fast, fast. Bunjay, dis guil does mek me vex for so, always teking she time, always late. I swear, dat guil go late for de Rapture. Guil, hurry up, yuh don need no make up, not even Saint mary could fix yuh ugly, plus only Maco man at de market. Yuh don want dem. AA AA guil, look at yuh in yuh pretty dress, who de mon yuh trying to impress nah. Oh gawd, look at yuh, walking like yuh a model or something, guil, stop yuh stupidness and leh wed go nah, and stop shaking yuh bam am like dat, it go fall off. Look at me crosses nah, I going to de market wid queen Jazebell.
In the rainforest, where the clouds hang over the trees, green and white creating a floating silver lining just above the tree tops. Green leaves sparkle as the grey light bounce off their dew sprinkled surface, monkeys sing in response to the chatter of the parrots. In some parts of the forest, the leaves are green cold, as mother’s eye attempt to escape the clouds. The scent of the soil fills the air, nature on simmer. Straying flower petals glides through the underbrush using natures transportation, settles in the yards, on the dirt roads and on the galvanized roofs.
Somewhere over the rooftops, you can see the blue sky, cloud like white shadows disappear into cotton candy puffs. Somewhere across the rooftops, down into the market, a fruit vendor lays out his colourful fruit, singing along to the calypso music thumping from the minibus. Somewhere, just beyond the rooftops, where the natural habour sits, with houses nestled in the trees, the fishermen prepare to go out to sea. Somewhere across the rooftops, a young boy pulls on the ropes sending the chimes of the church bells echoing through the city. Somewhere beyond the rooftops, school children chatter as they walk the narrow streets. Overlooking the rooftops, I daydream about the beach, the rolling waves, the scent of salt, the jumping fish, the glitter of the sun against the water. Somewhere across the rooftops, paradise waits for every man.
Ahh yes, Saturday, a great day to sit in the shade and watch the small fishing boats go by. A great day to just relax and watch the children playing cricket, splashing clear ocean water as they run. A great day to feel the hot sun that seeps through the leaves of the tree. Watch the fisherman put a fresh coat of bright coloured paint on his boat, his pride and joy. Watch his young son mend the fishing nets, preparing form the day when they can go out again. Watch the Rastamen walk by their black locks glistening in the sun. The lingering scent of ganja, the melody of they lingo. Ahhh yes, it is Saturday afternoon, beach time, do nothing, just watch the world go by.