Between the ages of 8 and 10, so from about 1971 to 1973, my family lived in Jamaica. My father was a radiologist and worked for two years at the University Hospital in Kingston, Jamaica. As a child, I remember the time fondly. My sister and I went to a wonderful school there and made good friends both at our school and with kids who lived in our neighbourhood. I remember being allowed to stay up late when my parents had parties, standing at the gate of our house (for some reason), listening to music watching everyone chatting inside.
A few years after returning to the UK, I was given a homework assignment which made me think back to our time in Jamaica. My mother liked it so much that she kept a copy of the essay. While I was back in Bristol last year when my father passed away, my mother gave me a copy of the piece that I wrote.
I share it below. I have not corrected spelling or grammar, just left it 'as is'. It was written remembering times spent on the north coast while we lived on the island.
Jamaica Morning, June 1977
Yesterday's hot ninety degree sun has gone; I find, as I open the window, and a cool moist feeling envelops me. The grass and earth look wet, and a shade darker, as though a paint brush has been over them and they are still wet. It is so quiet that you can almost hear the silence. Then, you suddenly become conscious of a distant waterfall, making a noise like the wind rushing through trees; never stopping. Something else catches your eye, and the noise of the waterfall vanishes from your mind. It's a fishing boat; bobbing up and down on the almost calm water; so calm that from the house it looks like a window. Another boat rows past the house; its oars lapping the water. A fisherman says something; another one answers, then there's quiet. Small waves break on the beach below. Their noise is barely a splash, but like a small breeze, slowly fading into the distance, and then starting up again.
All of a sudden the silence is broken by the white egrits, as they leave the trees where they have been resting for the night, and go flying off; probably never returning until the evening. Some of the birds, though, seem reluctant to go. They fly off their part of the tree and land somewhere else. However, within half an hour they have gone, the only evidence that they have been, is a white patch on the trees.
The sun is now beginning to appear over the trees. Its body guards of yellows and oranges rise up with it, slowly leaving as it gets to its throne in the sky. A fountain, that has just been dripping like a tap for the night, is now switched on, its noise, like the wind rushing through the trees; you soon become conscious of it.
Downstairs, there is the noise of people moving around. Doors creaking; people's feet patting backwards and forwards as they prepare the breakfast. A gardener walks across the lawn, looks up, smiles, waves and walks on. He's got everything worked out for the day; nothing must hold him up.
I look across to the beach across the bay. Two people are cleaning it up. They look rather vague as they work. I sit and stare; wondering. I hear something in the back of my head: but I couldn't care. Someone touches me on the shoulder. I jump out of my trance.
"Breakfast is ready."
"Coming," I replied.
Yesterday I bought a ZAGG Messenger Folio keyboard for my 5th generation iPad. The keys feel and sound a little ”springy”, but right now that is a minor complaint over having to use the on screen keyboard. At the moment I feel happy at the sense of new found freedom that I have for mobile computing.
I have been a late arrival to the iPad world. The only reason that I own one is that they were almost being given away a few years back when I bought a new iPhone. I have used this iPad, but not extensively and probably mainly to watch streaming services. There have been times though when I have had my iPad with me and I have wanted to do some longer form writing. I have managed with the on screen keyboard but was never happy with it.
Recently while back in the UK I set my mother up with an iPad and Magic Keyboard. The decision to adopt this setup was informed by supply issues from Apple’s side, and the time that I had to get the new system installed and my mother familiar with it. During the time that I was helping mum get aquatinted with the new iPad and keyboard I came to appreciate the iOS platform more, seeing potential in it beyond augmenting my desktop life and running my iPhone. I saw the possibility of it becoming my main computing platform. I am not there yet, but was sufficiently won over to more seriously think about a keyboard for my iPad, a stepping stone to maybe iOS full time. Yesterday was the day.
The ZAGG is no Magic Keyboard, but for my current usage it does not need to be. I simply wanted a competent keyboard that will allow me to more easily and more comfortably use the iPad, especially while on the move. While my main machine (read, ’my desktop’) is a MacBook Air, for some reason the iPad feels more like a portable machine. I look forward to experiencing what this new setup opens up for me.
Why not just write? Not because there is anything necessary to say, or maybe there is, but you can’t see it clearly now, and so just write. See what emerges from the explorations, from the scribbles, from the typing. Just write.
I say this as a reminder to self.
Found in an old journal entry dated Saturday, September 8, 2012,
Landscapes speak to us. We just need to listen.
A beautiful reminder of the importance of Stillness from John O’Donohue, shared via Rebecca Toh.
Thank you to @patrickrhone for making me aware of Toh’s writings.
I sometimes start writing with one intention in mind of where I want to go and before I know it, something else is developing. For all of that I still have to remind myself of this when I feel stuck in my writing. I have to remind myself to just start writing, just let the words come forth, and don’t worry too much about the results. This can be a push sometimes, but if I can push through that block, more often than not the words will come of their own volition.
Writing can be so cathartic.