Tobago

Tobago
Horizon at Sandy Point

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Ajoupa Gardens (a photo story)

We are in December and the rains are still coming down bucket a drop. We are so green - the earth trying to heal us in spite of ourselves. Our pre-Christmas visit to Ajoupa Pottery in Chickland found the gardens moist and rainforesty. To have created a garden from a clay hill in 20 years must be Ajoupa's greatest achievement, running just ahead of the free handed free form clay art pieces that now blossom from Bunty's fingers. It is well worth a visit, though you may have to wait until January as the studio is closing for Christmas. (The first Raku course is scheduled for January 13 and 20, yes Sundays.)

Enter the gardens for green solitude:

Mother Earth welcomes you to the Ajoupa Gardens

Clay pots by Bunty are decorative and functional

The Ajoupa house, over 150 years, on a clay hill in the Central range.
Look north from here to the Northern range, blue green in the distance.

A wall of foliage ablaze at sunset

And a pathway into green solitude

And from the Open Studio, decorative and utilitarian, objects of joy and mischievous contemplation:

Sconce with squirrels refers to the babies
 nurtured by Bunty

... with squirrels in her hair

The Joker - recognise him anyone?
In Dante's Hell, the lovers were locked, facing each other, for eternity.
This couple facing the world together will surely have a happier fate!

Without a paddle - we are all in the same boat!

T-shirt and underpants - TT's dirty laundry - can be made clean again!

In her web of life, the little mermaid

Thank you, Ajoupa, for this green and fertile hill.

Barefoot Bunty picking flowers in Ajoupa's garden

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Washed by wind and wave in Tobago


The roar of the sea sings you to sleep at night. And in the day, it’s a comfort to watch the surf, line after line, rising and running to a white crest tumbling to shore.

Morning on the south point of Tobago

The first time we came back to the timeshare after my father died, we were surprised to find that he had upgraded from the one bedroom studio apartment in the garden to the newly constructed beach villa. We felt like we had inherited a mansion when we were shown the convenient three-bedroom apartment that is so near to the beach that any nearer and we could be rocking on the waves with the pelicans.

For two weeks every year, the Sandy Point beach villa becomes our home in Tobago. From Trinidad, we step off the “air bridge” at Crown Point and a ten-minute walk takes us here.

In the ten years since we have occupied the beach villa, we are familiar with the sea off the south end of Tobago in two seasons. In the heart of the hurricane months, the sea is warm and calm, sometimes still as the blue of the sky. In the later months, when the northern hemisphere feels the chill of winter, winds from the west drive swells to Tobago’s sunlit shores. The sea rises in restless waves running in a straight line from Sandy Point to Store Bay pounding to shore in ceaseless rhythm.

Rolling surf crashes to shore

We are here in Tobago for an early December reprieve before the coming seasonal obligations. We sleep, eat and watch the sea and sky. Our time here is unhurried, meditative, an oasis of calm. Above the waves, pelicans wheel and soar and dive, folding to rest upon the heaving breast of water. We are thrilled to see dorsal fins of tarpon cleave the water, swimming round the fishermen on the jetty. Clouds mass on the western horizon, with or without rain, change from rose to grey to flame. And the unceasing sea rolls on. It is not hard to conclude that the suck and pull of these waters have their echo in living blood.

What keeps this sandy spit at the very southernmost edge of the island from melting into the ocean. Is there a balance already established between sea and shore, a truce for the millennia of human occupation?

This edge of ocean and sky feels like some kind of dynamic suspended state: this coast, this sky, these pelicans. Days like these we must believe are intimations of Eden. 

View from the Sandy Point beach villa