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Some Caribbean Things Difficult to Let Go

MsDora grew up, received early education and taught school in the Caribbean. Read her love and pride of the region—people and place.

Hills and ocean in one view from Sir Timothy's Hill, Saint Kitts

Hills and ocean in one view from Sir Timothy's Hill, Saint Kitts

“What in the Caribbean is so difficult to let go, that you just can’t stay away?” The question was posed by someone jealous of my love affair with the region.

During my search for some magical words to express my inexpressible feeling on the matter, the inquirer continued, “In the United States, you’re closer to your children. You have more friends here than there. You have access to better health care. Proper nutrition is more affordable. There are perhaps a hundred other reasons that you should stay.”

“True,” I submitted.

She kept up the query. “Is it the hills or the ocean?”

“Both in one view,” the words leaped off my tongue, “and perhaps another hundred reasons added to your hundred.”

Still, the question haunted me, and one day when I waded into the embrace of the Caribbean Sea, a few answers came to mind. Whether swimming, floating or splashing, it is easy to imagine myself as an embryo surrounded by a voluminous saline solution with skin-friendly minerals. When it warms up, the sea has the nurturing feel of a mother’s lap or bosom, making it my second favorite Caribbean thing difficult to let go.

More Than the Hills and the Ocean

It’s the huge hug from the sea,
The close view of the hills,
The scent of fresh tea leaves,
The taste of the mangoes,
Bleating goats in the yard
That awaken my senses.

It’s the working smell of sweat
In eighty-degree heat,
Or the whiff of curry
On goat meat in the pot,
Or scented carbolic soap
That smells like life-for-real.

It’s the tropical showers
From May through December,
Sprays from the waterfalls
In the dense rain forests,
And the breeze from the sea
That cool the warm air.

It’s the bright red hibiscus,
The gorgeous yellow bells,
The Jump-up-and-kiss-me,
Straight palms at attention,
The black, gray and white sand
That appeal to my gaze.

The bright red hibiscus is my favorite Caribbean flower.

The bright red hibiscus is my favorite Caribbean flower.

It’s the coconut water,
Lemonade made with limes,
Passion fruit or mauby brew;
It’s homemade ginger beer
And sorrel wine at Christmas
That satisfy my taste.

It’s the crow of the roosters
Signaling a new day;
The laughter of children
Meeting up on sidewalks,
The night songs of crickets
That sound so familiar.

It’s the hills most difficult
To let go, which inspire me
Above bright lights and six lanes
And skyscrapers of foreign lands.
It’s the sense of peace and stability
From the hills that keep me sane.

Reflection

After living abroad for many years, some Caribbean people return home with admiration for the little things we once took for granted. On our return, we notice for the first time the distinctive features of old buildings and the uniqueness of nature spots which attract the tourists. We leisurely stroll the distances which once seemed so far, just so we can take pictures of scenes we thought we would always see. The more often we visit, the more prideful we feel about our connection with our homeland.

  • It’s the wise old sayings, the sing-song dialect, the calypso rhythms, the wide-open windows to let in the fresh air;
  • It’s the local food items not in foreign markets: the sugar apple, the genip, the papaya, the guava;
Front left to right: starfruit, guava, sugar apple, genips.  Back left to right: mango, papaya, sapodilla.  Photo Credit: Copyright © 2018 Plants and Healers International

Front left to right: starfruit, guava, sugar apple, genips. Back left to right: mango, papaya, sapodilla. Photo Credit: Copyright © 2018 Plants and Healers International

  • It’s the transformation of the old neighborhood featuring new edifices on foundations our ancestors built;
  • It's the memory of those who scolded us, who encouraged us, who made sacrifices and prophesied the progress we now enjoy;
  • It’s the opportunity to tell our stories of struggles and breakthroughs in appreciation for those who taught us, and for the encouragement of those who come after us;
  • It’s the feel, the sound, the taste, the sights and smell of home that we find so difficult to let go.

© 2018 Dora Weithers

Comments

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on June 06, 2020:

Dora, I agreed with you. Who will not? Thanks.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on June 06, 2020:

Miebakagh, thanks for your affirmation. I know you feel the same way about your native land.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on June 06, 2020:

Dora, thi is an understandment. One's nativity is dear to one's heart. Thanks for sharing.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on July 07, 2019:

So true, Scott. Glad you enjoyed your visit. Come back often to enjoy the view and clear your head.

promisem on July 07, 2019:

There is something almost mystical about simply standing in the Caribbean Sea and looking out toward the gently rolling blue water. I like to clear my mind and just let it all sink in.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 25, 2018:

Thanks, Lawrence. True, we try but we really can't express what we feel about home. It's precious.

Lawrence Hebb from Hamilton, New Zealand on October 25, 2018:

MsDora

Home is where the heart is, it's as simple as that.

We can't explain these things, but when our hearts speak we should listen.

Really enjoyed the poetry here.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 03, 2018:

Sure, John. Maybe next time.

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on October 03, 2018:

Haha MsDora, I know. They are just a little out of my price range at the moment. Maybe next time.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 03, 2018:

Thanks, John. Just so you know, there are Caribbean cruises available; hope you'll try one.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 03, 2018:

Thanks, Rachelle. Hope your Jamaican friend will encourage you to visit.

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on October 01, 2018:

A beautiful article and poetry Ms Dora. You described the pull of the Caribbean over anyone native to the region so well. I would choose the same any day over the fast pace cities with skyscrapers and six-lane highways. I have never been there and unfortunately, I doubt that I will, but in about two weeks time my wife and I are going on a cruise to Noumea and Vanuatu in the south Pacific so it will give us some idea of what you describe.

Rachelle Williams from Tempe, AZ on October 01, 2018:

Although I'm not from any of the Caribbean islands, I can totally identify with missing the simple pleasures of "home." I have a dear friend who is from Jamaica, I'm going to send this to her, because I know it will resonate within her soul. Thank you so much for sharing this!

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 01, 2018:

Thanks Cynthia. Many Caribbeans think like that only after they have lived abroad an returned.

Cynthia Zirkwitz from Vancouver Island, Canada on September 30, 2018:

My, that was a compelling piece. It rains here. You know what has taken over social media and the other media. The Carribean sounds like a kind of Heaven on Earth?

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on September 30, 2018:

Thanks, Bill. I still think that you have more to gain by visiting and seeing firsthand.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on September 30, 2018:

Thanks, Rajan. Progress, maybe but the simple joys of our childhood can never be replaced. I agree with you.

William Kovacic from Pleasant Gap, PA on September 30, 2018:

Beautiful piece and sentiments, Dora, and the pictures help to tell the story. Never been there, but I'm sure it's everything you say and more.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on September 29, 2018:

Your poem took me back in time making me reminisce with sadness about the beautiful time spent as a child when life was simple and the simple pleasures we grew up with are lost forever. I guess it is the price we need to pay to have a better life in terms of material things.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on September 29, 2018:

Thanks, Devika. Well said.

DDE on September 29, 2018:

The life is special in such places especially when you appreciate what you have around you and not take it for granted.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on September 28, 2018:

Thanks, Mary. Enjoy Brazil. It's so healthy to live in a place which makes you happy.

Mary Wickison from Brazil on September 27, 2018:

I'm sure I will feel the same about our place here in Brazil. Life is simple and much as you describe. The sounds of daytime birds, change over to owls, nightjars,, and crickets.

No car alarms, sirens, or traffic - just the sounds of local families.

A lovely description of your homeland.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on September 27, 2018:

Thanks, Shauna. I appreciate your understanding.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on September 27, 2018:

Dora, there's nothing wrong with being true to your roots and loving your homeland. I couldn't imagine it any other way!

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on September 27, 2018:

Tim, great that you enjoyed this Caribbean piece. Hope you'd one day satisfy your longing to visit.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on September 27, 2018:

Sean, Bob Marley was indeed a special ambassador for the Caribbean. Glad that you received even more than his music. We appreciate your blessing.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on September 27, 2018:

Thanks, Manatita. You'll be so refreshed when you do make the time to visit. Go in the summer which is the mango season.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on September 27, 2018:

Thanks, Natalie. Plan your trip and you would really enjoy it. By air, St.Thomas is only minutes apart from the other little islands. Or the Caribbean cruise by sea is hard to beat.

Tim Truzy from U.S.A. on September 26, 2018:

Your article make me long to be sitting in the Caribbean, Ms. Dora. Such lovely description and powerful images put me right on the islands.

I've always felt the history of the New World can be told in every face, plant, and island in the Caribbean.

Thank you for such a pleasant and thoughtful article.

May God always bless you,

Sincerely,

Tim

Ioannis Arvanitis from Greece, Almyros on September 26, 2018:

I loved the Carribean many years back through my beloved Bob Marley. Then I searched and learned a lot, reading everything I could find, away before the internet, and I loved it more! I think is a part of the lost Paradise! A blessed region with blessed people. I wish someday I'll visit one of this majestic islands.

Thank you for this fantastic "window" to the Caribbean!

God Bless this Paradise!

Sean

manatita44 from london on September 26, 2018:

A true caribbean soul. I had visions of going back to all this, but an inner Voice came and gave me a different role. Still, it gives me and a great many caribbean people, sweet reminiscences.

Those fruits are all awesome to eat and healthy stuff too. I like your reasoning. Again, the weather is superb as the arthritis hits the older limbs. Ha ha. Thanks Dee.

Natalie Frank from Chicago, IL on September 26, 2018:

What a beautifully written article. The verses add so much to the description. There are countless articles on the Caribbean but this one is unique due to your addition of poetry and personal reflections and experience. The mix of the personal and the more formal content which presents useful info for those who may want to visit makes for a great article. I would love the chance to visit! My parents used to go to St. Thomas several times a year but I never went with them. I was always jealous!

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on September 26, 2018:

Thanks, Liz. You would enjoy your visit so come on over as soon as you can.

Liz Westwood from UK on September 26, 2018:

This is a very thoughtful and well-written article. I would love to visit the Caribbean one day.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on September 26, 2018:

Eman, thanks for reading and commenting. Happy to share my beautiful place with you.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on September 26, 2018:

I would welcome you, although it's obvious that you are very proud of your place. We're both blessed.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on September 26, 2018:

Thanks, Linda. Your comment is so encouraging. I appreciate you.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on September 26, 2018:

Flourish, I'm happy for you. Nothing better than parents to make a place like home. Thanks for sharing.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on September 26, 2018:

True, Jackie. The pull of home may difficult to explain to some, but it's exciting to those who know it.

Eman Abdallah Kamel from Egypt on September 26, 2018:

So beautiful place and so beautiful poem.

Lori Colbo from Pacific Northwest on September 25, 2018:

Stunning Dora. I want to move there. I live in the country in the Pacific Northwest on the Key Peninsula. We have stunning views of the majestic Mount Rainier that literally fills up the sky in Western Washington. We have the beautiful waters of the Puget Sound that wends its way through the region. We have beautiful state parks, lakes, mountain ranges etc etc. But the Caribbean sounds like bliss. Your poetry was beautiful Dora. Thanks for sharing your heart and creative word pictures with us. You go ahead and stay where your heart is. Love to you friend.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on September 25, 2018:

This is beautiful, Dora. I love your poem and your reflections. You've expressed your feelings for the Caribbean so well.

FlourishAnyway from USA on September 25, 2018:

What a beautiful article describing your feelings and thoughts on your homeland. You’re lucky to come from such a gorgeous place and fortunate to have been nourished by good people whose memories have stayed with you even after they have departed this earth. No wonder you find comfort in returning to your roots.

I don’t have that early place that I was from, as I moved around a lot as a child and there’s something sad and empty about not truly being from anywhere. I’ve corrected that as an adult though, living just a mile from my parents.

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on September 25, 2018:

Like a first love, I would imagine, Dora. Such a beauty to anyone but am sure your links there go as deep as family roots.

My love may not be as tropical as yours or beautiful (not quite) but I have chosen it over family as the place where I want to live and die. Sometimes hard to explain to those who do not have such a love, huh?

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on September 25, 2018:

Thanks, Venkatachari. I'll hold on to my "hill by the seaside" as a unique feature that it is difficult to let go, although from yuur description, I love your region too.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on September 25, 2018:

Thanks Mary. I do enjoy life in North America too. We're blessed to enjoy both worlds.

Venkatachari M from Hyderabad, India on September 25, 2018:

Very beautiful love for the homeland in your poem and article. I feel the same love and attachment for my homeland and so can associate with your feeling very well, Dora.

Most of the qualities mentioned by you in the poem are similar to our hometown or the region surrounding it. But our temperatures are a bit higher here and I do not come across any hill by the side of the sea. But we have plenty of hills, rivers, waterfalls and green fields, and forests here.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on September 25, 2018:

Amen to all these Dora. I can totally imagine all the things you said here so beautifully. My life is here in North America right now but I, too, will go home.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on September 25, 2018:

Nell, happy to learn that someone else enjoys the water as much as I do. I find it truly relaxing as much as therapeutic.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on September 25, 2018:

Thanks, Dexter. We're from the same region. Thanks for adding the freedom that not everyone everywhere enjoys.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on September 25, 2018:

Thanks Bill. I'm sure that almost everyone feel the same way about their homeland. We're from different regions but we share a similar love for home.

Nell Rose from England on September 25, 2018:

That was beautiful Dora. I totally understand what you mean. Especially about laying in the sea in the warm water. I feel like that when I visit the coast. specially somewhere called the isle of wight. I went there last week and just sat on the beach, feet in the water, watching all the ships go by, trees blowing in the breeze behind me. I love your poems, they explain it so well!

Dexter Whinfield from Saint Vincent and the Grenadines on September 25, 2018:

From sunny Saint Vincent and the Granadines - I absolutely love the caribbean, won't trade it for the world. It's the little things that we are able to so freely do that gives us such a unique experience.

Thank you for sharing, it somehow reminds me of my early boy days.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on September 25, 2018:

Beautiful reflections on a land you obviously love very much. I love your answers to the question, especially the very last reflection.