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A spider crawled across the lawn, delicately treading on blades of grass that bent very slightly beneath his weight. Silent as a shadow, but not hard to miss, a fist-sized grey form upon the green, what we call a Donkey Spider. He lives in the ground, in the holes he digs, spinning no web but instead stalking his prey, and though in appearance generally placid and patient I have discovered how quick he can be.

They say that the father of all stories is a spider; his name is Anansi, he is made in the image of man, but still with eight legs, a big belly and a little head. He was born when the world was made, his mother was the Earth and his father was the Sky.

I grew up with the tales of Anansi, stories that came from Africa, and I imagined that the Donkey Spiders were his children so I chased after them to play. I filled their holes with the garden hose and forced them up to the surface. I’d catch them easily when they were sodden and still, and place them on the back of my shirt where they would quietly cling until they were dry. Then, they’d come to life, warmed by my body and climb up over my shoulders, and I would time this, as close to the moment of their reinvigoration as possible, to when I would walk into a mix of grownups, playing ignorant to the commotion I caused.

I saw one the other night and I bent down to watch him. He raised his front feet to me, waving hello and calling me closer. His big eyes watched as I poked my finger forwarded to stroke him. His fangs drooped down like the mustache of an old man. And I thought how gentle he must be that never in all my play had I ever been bitten.

I poked him once, and he did not move, then a second time and he remained still. But on the third time, he had me. Quicker than a flicker of lightning. He grappled my finger and pulled me forward. In my surprise I fell to the ground. Then, he was gone, faster than I could even see. Anansi had gotten me. He had lured me in, hypnotizing me with his big eyes and little head, dancing me closer until he could bite me!

And now I know how many times you have to poke a Donkey Spider before he bites; three times, exactly.

Caribbean Strong – Nevis

Nevis was very fortunate, we suffered minimal damage. The ancient saman tree in the town square was blown over, a few other trees have been lost and our beaches have been strangely rearranged but it is nothing that can’t be repaired with time and tide. With village names like Hardtimes and Burden Pasture, Nevis has known many challenges.We are not strangers to the storm.

Don’t You Agree?

After a trip away, I’ve just returned to these sweet charms of Nevis, the warmth of hospitality and the embrace of friends.

My Nevis Perspective

The best way to survive as a hotelier on a remote island with difficult logistics is with patience and a sense of humor.

Hermitage Newsletter December Edition

Interestingly, a celebrity magazine shoot shared the property with a crew of geothermal miners. We can’t say which group was the more tantalizing and filled us with anxious delight at the possibility of unearthing a deeply hidden treasure.

Experience of the Caribbean

Some days are clear Caribbean skies and placid, turquoise, clear seas that reflect the frigate birds and passing clouds; some days are faded yellow from the Sahara dust that drifts across the Atlantic, some days are rain, hard bullet-like tropical rain...

Covered in vines

There are little wooden houses on the island of Nevis and many are covered in vines. They were built 100 hundred years ago, in a tradition that was handed from master carpenter to apprentice, one generation to the next. Their beams are pegged together with...

The Pink House History

My mother lives in a Pink House, the house that we built for her mother, my grandmother, who we called Muzzy.

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...

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. 

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...

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