Tobago

Tobago
Horizon at Sandy Point

Saturday, March 27, 2010

appleblossom cassia


Here are the "tiny pink blossoms" offsetting the ragged scar of destroyed hillside!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

more savage than wild

Interlude:

I am not sure where this is going.
I have found solace in nature from what may be considered savage civilisation.
The world where I walk - more structured than ants nests, less free than a hummingbird magnetized by a branch of blossom - can sometimes be a vipers nest. If you can imagine vipers on stilettos!
So yes, this blog is an escape. And words are the means of escape.
This blog is also a study of words and the world they can build.
It is a process that I hope will point the way to where the wild things are.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Jacamar Jacamar where have you been?

This is how the day started:

You sit unruffled on the line leading down the rocky slope, iridescent green shining softly in the early light. Rufous you are called for a brick red breast with rosy glints. Sitting so still, you teach the unobservant to look again.

The Rufous-tailed Jacamar Galibula ruficauda ruficauda (according to that excellent new Field Guide to the Birds of Trinidad and Tobago, Martyn Kenefick, Robin Restall and Floyd Hayes) is not common in Trinidad but is seen occasionally "at the forest edge and second growth at all elevations" as the book says. A lot more common in Tobago. They feed on insects caught in flight.

Jacamar, Jacamar, it is your shrill call "pwee pwee-ee-ee pwee-ee-ee" that I hear just as the sun is coming over the mountain. Teach us to see.

And here's how it ended:
Smokey days and burning sunsets. Tongues of flame flicker along dry grass and bamboo litter lining overheated asphalt. In the mornings the hills are smoking, the air ashy and acrid. Even rocks burn, talcum white or sooty grey. Felled trees crackle and ignite, falling in showers of sparks. Coming home now on Saddle Road out of Maraval, the valley is a duotone: leafless silk cotton and teak bathed in crimson as the sun slips over Paramin. Vision of hell, or end of days. We sleep already in shrouds of smoke and haze.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

tiny pink flowers

Don't ever think that because it has no leaves that a tree might be dead.
The 50-foot cassias have been dropping leaves like mad - swirling eddies on the front porch like fish in a current. Branches getting nakeder and nakeder. Wondering whether their roots are deep enough to last this dry season.
The birds flutter in and out of the jungle gym of branches.
But look closer now - and eyes grown accustomed to brown branch and dying leaves spot something pink. Here on this twig, and then there on those. Is this apple blossom pink? Some may say cerise. Others fuchsia. Tiny pink buds, delicate as a baby's pout, and florets much smaller than poui or immortelle, are emerging in regular spaces where the leaves have fallen.
The Appleblossom Cassias - from seeds brought out of the forest by a forester who identified a magnificent tree that must surely have special genes - are getting ready to bloom, after six years in this rocky hillside in a vale of Santa Cruz.
The dry season has its moments after all.
Joy!

Agouti Day

It's been 40 days without water. Hot and parched when it is not dry and windy. It's just about six o'clock in the evening, sun almost gone in that dove soft twilight. Car - trusty subaru - runs so silent on the last leg to home. There, out of the corner of my eye I spot the sleek rust brown shape. He (or she?) is running along beside me, something held in the mouth.
Agoutis are rabbit sized and classified as a rodent. Vegetarian, they look for fruit, nuts, leaves and roots. In a residential community surrounded by bush, these shy creatures venture out at dusk. Haven't seen one in many months so it's a thrill to know that they are still there hiding and being careful of the dogs in the area. This one looked well-fed and shiny. Must start walking and hope to see others.