It's 543am. A lone rooster crows. The ocean gently slaps the beach
with small mini wave curls, suitable for a leprechaun size surfer. The
street lights of Jost Van Dyke are still brightly lit in the distance,
wasting power for no reason. The wind is more of a gentle rustle with the palm
fronds silently swaying.
I make a cup of strong coffee, then dilute it with a large amount of
milk. Two cats show up for breakfast. One cat is absent, probably lost in
the tangle of jungle growth out back. I open a small can and hold back on some,
so the 3rd cat will have his, when he appears. I don't wish to disturb the
serenity of the morning by calling him. The two cats rapidly eat their
treats, then lick their bowl clean and scamper off to begin their morning
I unplug all my laptop cords, and remove my computer from the inside desk
and relocate to the verandah with a cup of coffee. This is heaven on earth I
think, or else I have died and no one thought to tell me. I am still quite
sleepy, but how could I miss out on such a glorious peaceful morning, when all
is quiet, save for that lone rooster. He doesn't crow in earnest, but
rather like it is his job to crow, so he is lazily making a subdued
I see two pedestrians walk separately down the waterfront road, not a car
has passed, and this has kept it blissfully quiet.
At 606am, I hear a large truck rumble to life and go through 5 gears
rapidly and drive off in the distance. At 607am the first car zips down the
road. One cat returns from his morning foray, and settles down to nap in a
chair across from me. He uses the arm rest as a chin prop as he gazes out to
sea. His eyes slowly close. I notice that the six candles on the
table have been fair play for a busy spider who has wove an intricate web.
The island is in transition this week. Many residents have packed and left
for lengthy vacations elsewhere, others to their original roots to visit family.
On the flip side, overseas belongers, have flocked back to the islands for
carnival and family reunions. Some businesses have closed up for a month
or two, to allow their staff to take their breaks and perhaps before reopening,
some will spend a little on paint and repairs. Others won't, preferring a pealed
weathered look for the winter season. Some will remain open, except for the 3
festival days, next week, which are earmarked as Public Holidays. This means
vital services like banking will be closed for 5 days in a row.
At 617am the 2nd car whizzes by in the opposite direction. I note that it
is the identical car that first passed at 606am. It is shortly followed by
a second car and I realize the island is waking up and disturbing my peace, but
there is nothing I can do.
I read about the collapse of a bridge with bumper to bumper traffic in the
Twin Cities of America. It saddens me that some were killed and their last
moments on earth were being stuck in crush hour traffic.
At 620am, a 3rd car races past. No traffic grid lock in this tiny
seaside village. At least not this week. Next week, when carnival relocates to
our neighborhood for 2 and half days, we will have temporary traffic jams.
623am and the 4th car zips down the road, with a 5th one not far behind.
Our tiny bridge is still out and I hope they fix the mess before festival
comes to our quaint bay. The detour is one lane at best, and has deteriorated
rapidly over the weeks, to dirt ruts with axle jarring pot holes.
At 625 traffic begins in earnest with the arrival and rapid departure of
the 5th, 6th, and 7th cars. Half have been work trucks, as the smart tradesmen
start their day early before the heat sets in.
I remember once chastising a house painter for being late. I was in
charge of renovations at a beach home. I was up and caffeine loaded by 530am
when the gardener arrived, followed by the plumber and electrician at 6 and
630am. The maid came in at 700am as she knew there would be much to clean up,
after the workers' ministrations. Around 10am, we all took breaks and sat around
sipping cold juice and eating Johnny cakes with thick slabs of cheddar cheese.
The beery eyed painter arrived about 1015am, clearly suffering from a bad
hangover and sits down, opens up a brown bag and begins eating a snack. He
made a remark about how civilized we were to eat our breakfast before beginning
work. This was met with cold silent stares. I had great fun with him,
explaining that we had already put in a half days' hard work by now, and were
having our mid day meal, before wrapping up the other half of our day.
I reminded him that I had asked him to start early.
The other works shuffled off and back to work. The painter continued with
his breakfast, yacking about nothing in particular, oblivious to the work
commencing around him.
When he finished his breakfast, I looked at the clock and said if he was
lucky, he could get in about 3 and a half hours of work before we knocked off
for the day. He looked a bit dismayed. He told me he charged by the day. I told
him we paid by the hour.
The rest of the week he struggled to come in early each morning, but I
could tell it was cutting into his evening party time and he yawned pitifully
throughout the morning, painting neatly but incredibly slowly.
Those were hard hot days of work, but by 2pm each day, I was rewarded by
walking to the beach and floating around the crystal clear waters of the
Caribbean sea, well satisfied that I had already put in a full days' work.
I wondered how much of the ocean is made up of sweat, or is that why it is
so salty? Afterwards, I would return to the house alone, shower off the
sand with a cold garden hose, make phone calls, scribble out work
lists, write up shopping lists and straighten up the place. Sometimes I
took dozens of pictures to email the owners, to show them work was progressing
If I got my second wind, then I would work on propagating plants. These
would be nurtured in pots and loved dearly, to be eventually transplanted
to the garden.
654am and I hear my neighbors are up, because their not so quiet water pump
is kicking in loudly. More cars speed past. The island is waking up and
getting ready for the day.
Look at this stormy weather passing south of us. A plane will be sent to
investigate this later on today.
Tropical Storm Chantal
had her final
weather report issued at 11pm Tuesday. Eric is in the Pacific, not the
Caribbean (in case you've heard rumors.)
At 710am, the skies are still grayish blue as the remnants of the wave
beneath us travel across our cerulean skies. Winds have picked
up in earnest, sailing should be fun today.
At 720am, we are dripped upon briefly as if God almighty has dribbled a bit
of sweat down upon us.
750am, winds are becoming steady and clouds are passing rapidly, giving way
to pastel baby boy blue skies.
800am, I've decided to relocate my office to the verandah for the
day. The candles can be my paper weights as I progress.