Sunday, July 25, 2010
A Tobago frame of mind
This is the island that floats on the horizon - the way the dim outline of Trinidad emerges on a clear day at Sandy Point (south tip of Tobago). It's a place to visit, once maybe twice a year, to repair burnt out brain circuitry and refresh bodies worn out by the weight of routine. It is easy to do nothing in Tobago, just be, unhurriedly, selfishly, sybarite. Eat well or simply, enough to take you from bed to beach and back. It must be hard to work in paradise.
My school teacher friend and her playwright-carnival artist husband seem to think not. They might begin or end their day with a swim at Mt Irvine. Otherwise, she has taught in her private school for over 20 years, with what might be considered play-to-learn methods developed in Canada and with skill and discipline developed from training in nursing and special ed. She has recently dusted off her brushes and watercolours, pencils and sketchpad, the hidden artist in her family. He commutes to Trinidad to care for his mother and produce with others in his field. Their musician son and dancer daughter are in training abroad, but Tobago is always on their minds. The experiment of this family who returned to Trinidad with degrees, and the hope of being part of a new society is still to be examined, documented and assessed.
What about the lady whose liver string is buried under an ajoupa in the holistic haven. Why does she worry about a legacy? She who has fostered from scratch the spirit and soul of a Tobago enterprise built on relaxation, good food, patience, discipline and consistent effort while raising two girls and a husband. Does she feel a sense of time running out, or the life's worth of a family grown in Tobago with pumpkin vine members in almost every other country on earth?
On the 20-minute plane ride back to reality, the island fades quickly. The tan remains slightly longer - the outward and visible sign of something changed. The flight in, and out, are parentheses to a week that might not exist or even be missed.
The thoughts generated by idleness remain. What are the efforts of a life worth? Anywhere in the world? In Tobago?