On a cold winter night I stand my bare feet crunching on frozen crispy grass, I watch the shadows of trees against the starry night, whispering words that turn in to mist and gets swept away by the wind that swept through the prairie with the howl of a hundred choirs and a million melodies like a haunting of sirens across the frigid skies as my dream stay frosted in time.
These Kentucky mornings, right after the freeze of winter have kissed away the frigid mornings, right before spring whistles in the temperate winds across the Appalachian mountains. Mornings when the mist attempts to hide the trees that hibernate in the open winter air. Dark brown branches eagerly waiting for mother nature to give the order to spring lush green leaves. And then not even this fog can hide summer’s bloom.
Welcome to the frozen tundra, where mother nature have not sympathy for the tropical transplants. Sixteen degrees of pure skin numbing wind, slipping and sliding. So cold one can walk on water. My only escape is in my head, letting my imagination run away with me
Ahhh I can feel the warmth. Sometimes letting one’s imagination run a marathon is the best medicine.
Ok, why did you wake me up eh? Why on God’s green earth did you wake me up? Mannn, and I was bursting a good sleep too. Oh no all that smiles and baby talk not going cut it. Its cold outside, do you not see the snow on the ground? You know what that means don’t you? It means that it is sleep in day. Yes, sleep in day. Can you read the wuffing coming out of my mouth? Maybe you should learn to talk dog. You see that blanket next to me, yes that soft warm cuddly looking thing. When you see that covering me up and it is cold outside, that means, DOG SLEEPING. In human language it means DO NOT DISTURB. I was having a good dream too. Beach, sunshine, a really cute pitbull flexing near the surf, golden brown fur glistening in the sunlight. No no no, none of that baby talk going work, I already told you that. Just go to work or whatever you humans do, me I am going to crawl under this comfy blanket and go back to my dream. Go on, and don’t forget to pick up some of that gourmet dog food on your way home from work.
Somewhere, where the show lay heavy on the tree branches. And all animals seek refuge from the chill of early morning. You wake up, your vision still blurry, the remnants of dreams of the night before. You stumbled into your living room, your whole body trembled a little as the cold material of you sleepwear touched your warm skin. You walked over to the smoldering fire place, poked at the embers. Yellow sparks flew into the air. You placed more wood into the fire. They cracked and popped as small flames erupted. You settled down int eh recliner facing the fireplace and waited. Slowly the room began to warm up. Hugging you like grandma when she comes for a visit. You closed your eyes and listened to the wet snow bounced off your roof. Hear the lone wolf howl in the distance. Daydream about the white world outside. Slowly, the white daydream grew darker, as you dose off into sleep.
Some mornings, its great to wake up to the land covered with snow, the sky shining silver gray. Open your window and feel the blast of cold air bounce off your skin. Step outside and feel the snow crunch under your feet. Shovel the snow into a small mountain and climb onto it and pretend you have just conquered Mount Everest. Exhale and watch the mist fade into the sky. Ahh yes, some mornings, a blast of cold air can remind you that you are alive and can enjoy feeling alive.
This is a picture of my brother on far right, his wife in the purple blouse. They are visiting the US and this is a picture taken last week in Detroit. I noticed my brother wearing layers of clothes so I said to him, “Hey brudda, you cold or something”? He says, I tell you Andy, I am so cold my toe nails are freezing.” Only a visiting island boy would be freezing in the American summer.
Last night was bitter cold. My teeth were chattering so hard it reminded me of days on the beach when the tropical rain poured down and I was swimming. The ocean was warm, but the bloody rain hit my skin like small pellets of ice. It is 2013 and yes, I am still living in The Wild and Wonderful City.
My dream began with me standing on a narrow street, engulfed with a thick grey mist. At first it was silent, but slowly, the sound of voices filled the air. I looked around but saw no one. The voices grew from a murmur to ear-splitting screams. The grey mist turned into a thick fog that seemed to stifle me. My eyes felt like they were on fire and my throat felt like someone had his fingers wrapped around it, squeezing. I stood up and started walking away from the voices. I had no intentions of waiting around to find out why they were coming towards me. I had taken two steps when I stumbled over something, landing on my knees, but I felt no pain. I brushed tears from my eyes and looked down. There was a young lady lying on the road. From the uniform she was wearing, I knew she was a student. I crawled over to her and lifted her head. There was a large gash on her forehead; blood drained into her eyes, causing them to look like pools of crimson red. I looked around; the mist had disappeared and I wiped the tears from my eyes so as to see what was going on around me. The sun was shining so brightly that my skin burned. It felt like someone had dipped me in water at its boiling point. She mumbled something, but instead of words, blood spilled out of her mouth. The red gush soaked into the white shirt she wore, red in the middle of the stain and pink on the edges. The sun went dark as I almost fainted; bloody girl’s eyes were rolling back in her head.
Suddenly the screaming voices stopped and a shadow blocked the sun so I turned around. There was a man standing over me. I saw no face, no mouth, and no teeth – just two red eyes glaring at me. I moved to get up as he screamed like a man who needed to be exorcised. The look in his eyes was one of pure hatred, and he had that expression that made people look more like beasts than humans. Then his arm raised and the blue skies behind him turned grey, then black. Once again I was falling, the faces of people I used to know flashing in the dark, pale florescent images floating around me. The screaming was unbearable, but slowly it disappeared and I plunged into the darkness.
I sat up in bed; the room was so dark I thought I was still dreaming. A Harley Davidson bike roared by outside. It sounded like an airplane flying low, about to drop a bomb. I got up and stumbled to the bathroom, turned on the faucet and splashed cold water on my face. I looked at myself in the mirror; my eyes were the same color as a fire engine. I wiped my face with the towel hanging next to the shower, turned and walked over to the window.
Here it is 2013. I am used to people not pronouncing their T’s. I know that a penny is one cent and not two cents like on the island. I am now versed in Hillbilly slang, well sometimes I still do not understand. Lately, black slang and white slang have crossed lines and all people are starting to sound the same. Country music is no different than rap, all pop music. I still have people thinking I am Jamaican. I am still single. The only difference is, I don’t think I am not good enough; I just refuse to sell myself short. I have kept my accent; thank God ‘cause an island boy with a Redneck accent would make me sound like a bad Disney character.
We arrived at our destination and man was I confused. For one, it was fifteen degrees. My body was numb and my teeth chattered so hard I thought they would crumble. My toes felt like someone was poking them with needles every time I moved. I was definitely not prepared for this; no human could possibly be prepared for these frigid conditions. My tropical ass did not own a jacket, or anything warm for that matter. I looked out the car window. There were no bloody sky scrapers, no bustling streets, just a small town surrounded by mountains. The younger of the two gentlemen asked me if I was hungry and I told him I was. He pointed to a building with golden arches. I was confused. On the island, there were no fast food restaurants – just local restaurants that cater to the tourists. When he saw the expression on my face, he pointed out several other fast food restaurants along the side of the two-lane street. Pizza Hut – what was that? Sonic? – have no clue. I zeroed in on Kentucky Fried Chicken because it had the recognizable word “chicken” in its name. I did not enjoy the meal very much. It was way too greasy, and judging from the bland taste, I knew there were little or no tropical spices in it. After eating, the two men informed me they would take me to the basketball dorm. They made it a point to let me know that the one basketball player there at that time was black. I was a little baffled as to why it was so important to inform me of his ethnicity.