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Reflections

I saw so regularly an old man sitting by the roadside that I began to feel I knew him, though we never spoke. He sat there from morning, through midday sun and into the afternoon, somehow comfortable on stony soil, beneath a mango tree. He would raise a hardened fist as his greeting every time I passed.

A time ago, before radios, televisions and telephones, the roadside was an important place to be. It was a river of life that news flowed on. But while some people sat by the roadside to be part of the passing day, gossiping and looking for news; other people used the road side as a place for work, in a tiring trade of pounding stones; breaking rocks down into gravel for construction, working by the side of the road where the government trucks could come to them, having hauled their rocks from fields and river beds in wheelbarrows and carts.

Like this old man, you could tell people who had lived this trade because their hands were so very hard. They worked with a five-pound hammer, on their pile of stones, under a tree, a tattered awning or the broad sky alone.

Now on the roadsides it is only farmers you’ll see; selling their fruits and veg. But even after the last harvest of stones, the old man remained by the roadside, accustomed to his place and waving at me when I passed.

Today while driving my children to school I slowed down by the mango tree so they could wave back at the old man, and so that I could tell them the story of how people pounded stones for a living.

Old Man

The Old Man I have heard the old folks refer to the mountain as the Old Man and say that when he takes his hat off the night will be cold. When there is no clouds, and no haze, the air becomes crisp and there is a slight chill as the wind comes down from a...

Doors

The sound of doors The sound of closing doors chimes the passage of time in an old house, it marks the weather of our day. When the library door slams shut it means the westerlies have risen, they are the winds that blew the sugar trade, and...

Secondary school

Secondary School When I started secondary school in Nevis the advice I was given from my older sisters was to get there early on the first day to find a chair and a desk, or I’d spend the year without one, or the other, or neither. But I think there were enough to go...

Animal’s wisdom

There are old Nevis tales about the antics of animals, how the goat and the monkey talk to each other; and so we create proverbs and sayings based on their antics as explanations for our own actions. We say things like “the monkey knows what tree to climb"...

Reflections

I saw so regularly an old man sitting by the roadside that I began to feel I knew him, though we never spoke. He sat there from morning, through midday sun and into the afternoon, somehow comfortable on stony soil, beneath a mango tree. He would raise a...

Markets of Nevis

On certain days of the week, the market in Charlestown becomes the center of the island, with an intoxicating aroma of a bountiful earth, when the stalls fill up with freshly dug vegetables, ripe fruit, local herbs and spices. It is run almost entirely by...

Roads of Nevis

They say that tourism is the largest industry on Nevis, we have two government departments dedicated to it. We call it a sector, and the politicians treat it as that. But, is it truly based on the spirit of welcoming and warmth, of taking in and looking...

Summer days

The summer time is true to the heart of island living, with fewer tourists and expats, the buzz of visitors subsides. The days are longer and the nights are cool and refreshing. We spend more time in the evenings sitting outside, and I find myself looking...

Leave Her As She Is

Over coffee in the mornings he spoke about it, at the bar in the evenings he promised to restore it. 

The Ocean’s View

Where the water meets the shore is the edge of the world, either in the rough collision of waves against rocks that tells the story of resistance and erosion or in the soft lapping and gentle wash that dresses the sand, with a fringe of foam like lace. The...

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