January 8, 1996

Tortolan Torture

Dear Snowbound Northerner,

It sure is cold here at my home on the mountain top -- probably down to the high 70's, but it feels colder with the wind chill.  On the Today Show I see 17 degree New York temperatures flash across the screen.  At my home, the wind whips across the ridge, the rain squalls, the clouds descend onto me -- an early morning fog. The visibility seems to be a scootch better than the visibility in the snowfall of the eastern USA this morning.

Really -- I'm jealous!

I can think of anyplace I'd rather be than plunk in the middle of a good winter storm like the one you are getting. I look longingly at the people who are cross-country skiing in the middle of the street, digging out their cars from the side of the road, waiting in subway stations for trains that never show up. People who are told to stay at home unless they are essential personnel. Goodness, imagine sitting at home and trying to self-evaluate: "am I essential or not?"

I sit in the living room wearing only my flowery blue pareau (sulu, lava lava (a wrap of cloth), with the doors and windows wide open, on the quiet cattle strewn, Ridge Road. As the fog lifts, the rain falls through the early morning sunshine, the most perfect rainbow reaches from the side of our hill, so very close, to the surface of the sea 1000 feet below our door, where a sailboat, a tiny white triangle, narrowly avoids the pot of gold and sails through the warm rain. Oh well, I wish it were snow.

If this were snow I could be a part of the national excitement!  But, y'know, there is just nothing newsworthy about a rainbow that connects hibiscus, banana plants and palm trees on the side of a warm, wet, tropical mountain to the surface of the sea.   Headlines read: "Rainbow of '96." Nope.  The Tortolan national guard (I don't think there is one) and the Red Cross just yawn. All eyes are on the "Blizzard of '96."

At the tail end of your storm, we receive rain.  Rain is good for us. It falls on the roof, funnels into the cistern and gives us a few more days of water. The rain makes hitchhiking difficult though -- last night I couldn't hitch to Cane Garden Bay to dance.  I had to go to bed early. Problems in paradise.

I lay in my bed, silver blue under the cloud-filtered light of the full moon. I pull the covers around me, sleepily look out the window at the outline of palms, and let the sound of the waves, the soft rain on the hard fronds, lulls me to sleep.

Life sucks. Enjoy your storm.



A non-essential personnel


Format modified March 7, 1999