Wotten Waven Reflections

Sunday 24 December 2006

I sat and gazed at the distant mountains touching the skies

The soothing sound of a Wotten Waven stream was pleasant to hear.

My mind wandered back to my youthful years in Planters Hall St. Mary Jamaica.

To still the loneliness in my soul I would often hold council with the trees as I meander aimlessly across the meadows of Epping or Windsor.

There were the nights when I would lie in the grass at Planters Hall and marvel at the stars as I contemplate the stupendous grandiloquence of the universe.

I would even stretch my imagination to visualize the hand of The One God, in one tempestuous momentous stroke of infinite genius fashioning this ineffable world with all its wonders.

There was the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Planters Hall where I first learnt that if you were good you go to heaven and if you were bad you would go to Hell.

There was my grandmother Esmie, may here soul walk in peace, she told me that God sent all bad people to the Devil where they roast in Hell.

My real problem was that when I did something which was “bad” she said that the devil made me do it, yet she would beat me, which did not at all absolve me for I was still under pending punishment from both god and the devil, even though I only did what the devil made me do.

At times I was not even sure when I did things if I did them of my own free will or if the devil made me do them.

I lived in a community where the devil was very active, all bad things that people did “the devil made them do it”.

It was often said that the devil was “riding people” Major Clark the elder who acted as pastor for our Seventh Day Adventist Church was an expert on the activities and actions of the devil in our community, he had a strong and powerful voice, I sometimes got scared listening to him rebuking and denouncing the devil.

I recall the time when Elder Nameless caught my cousin Claudius and I playing cards on the steps of the church, he was uncontrollably incensed at the evil thing that we were doing “playing cards on the steps of God’s Church”

This was the same man who was having an extramarital affair with a member of the congregation.

In his eyes two young boys innocently playing cards on the steps of the church was a much more evil thing than an elder of the church having an extramarital affair.

Elder Nameless’ extramarital affair was an open but ignored secret, whereas my cousin Claudius and I were severely castigated by everyone for our unforgivable actions.

When I did bad things like putting the small chickens on a rock and shoot their heads off with a slingshot, I consoled myself with “the devil made me do it”

My happiest times were when I would roam the hills and meadows of Epping, swimming in the river at Stewart Mountain, walking in the forest at Raffington, playing Cricket at Works Peace, racing with my dog Billy, siting in the Bullet Wood Tree secretly looking at the women of Stewart Mountain trying to climb over the wall wearing their hobbles which restricted the movement of their legs.

Yes there were good times and there are some people who shared those good times with me, I still think of them with loving mindfulness, like Isilda Gordon my childhood dream girl, my Cousin Claudius who has now passed away, Lascelles Coombs, Stanley Murray, Cecil Henry, Winston Rose, Samfa Man “Winston Gordon” my cousins Madge and Burton Henry, Hermalee Dill and others.

I can hear the murmuring of the Brighton brook as it meanders to the sea, how serene were the days when I would sit and listen to this soothing sound. I can hear the voices of Lascelles Coombs, Norman Webb, Cecil Henry, Winston Gordon, Winston Rose, Cordel Duncan, Paulette Davis, Hermalee Dill andmy dearest aunties Eda and Val.

I feel so far away, yet so clearly I recall the years when from “road to mountain” was a journey I would take with such fervent anticipation.

I would go “a bottom mountain” to see miss Annie, Massie, Madge, Burton, Beaver, Dave and Jolly, miss Annie would always make sure there was milk in the house for when “Jack comes”, then there was Babsy whose eyes would glow at the sight of her favourite “eccentric” cousin.

To my cousin Claudius Marsh my soul is crying out in remembrance of those days when we would roam the forests looking for the nests of “Bald Pates”, P Doves and White Bellies.

I see visions of Isilda Gordon my childhood dream girl, who is now Mrs. Isilda Innocent.

I can recall the day “Larry Lindo” made me a slingshot and how they laughed, when I tried to shoot my first sparrow and shot my thumb instead.

Stain beautiful Stain may God bless his soul, he used to buy me all the firecrackers I needed to chase the duppies I thought roamed in the yard.

Great grandmother Ethel the gentlest soul my life has known, may the hand of eternal omnipotence guide its path through the circles of eternity.

My paternal grandmother Esmie who mothered me, may the angels of heaven bless her soul and the Seraphim chant canticles of love to comfort her.