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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 Europe and Africa to the Americas. When the cupboard doors blow open it means the weather has changed, the winds clocking to the south and blowing up off the Caribbean Sea, bringing hot air and thunder.

The sound I remember the most was my mother’s leaving her bedroom, her door pulling to, the click of the old brass latch and the sounds of her heels on the steps as she descended the stairwell to the second door that opened into the sitting room where we welcome our guests.

For over three hundred years this house has been a gathering place, and when the house is quiet, I sit in the great room and imagine the conversations that have been held through the centuries. I imagine the walls can talk and if I am still enough I can hear them.

December marks the return of the Christmas winds and the holiday buzz; and the New Year comes with new faces and old friends. Growing up in a hotel, mother always told us that the world comes to our doors. It’s only the wind that ever knocks, guests come and go like friends. So I am always listening, interpreting the sounds of the winds and guests arriving.

And always at this time of year, I imagine I hear my mother’s footsteps coming down from her room to wish us all Happy New Year.

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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