Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Time in a bottle

Paul Anka has a song called 'The Times of Your Life' and for years it was the Kodak company theme song. In fact, there is a whole generation of people who probably remember the lyrics just from the ads that played on television selling cameras. Now, everyone has a phone camera, digital camera or even a disposable camera. Many of us have boxes full of photographs that we rarely look at it, or countless files full of digital images on our computer. This relentless documenting of every moment, posted up for every voyeur to share in every moment of our lives, memories become less precious and private.

When I set off on this break I was told to take along a camera and make sure and bring back pictures so everyone could see. But I didn't. I don't own a digital camera, I still operate in film; though there is a camera mode on my phone, I don't use it because it does not adequately capture what I want. I've discovered, having worked in television for all those years, that I don't want to relentlessly document every moment. I think of myself as a wordsmith, one still honing the craft but nonetheless, I would prefer to colour your perceptions with my words as opposed to pictures which are unambiguous. True, you will see what I see, but maybe not in the way that I see it from a carelessly taken picture.

I didn't want to spend my time behind the lens, I do that every day if you think about it. Instead, I prefered to experience the grains of white sand between my toes, feeling the roughness of the lounger under my back while I turned my face to the sun each day, reveling in the warmth and heat. And maybe you missed the dive boat bobbing at the end of the wooden jetty, but it featured in the corner of my eye as a marker to how far I was from shore. As did the line of happy red buoys marking off the boat passage into the bay making it safe to swim without fear of being hit.

The little bay off of the Cotton House is truly beautiful. In the distance you can see Bequia but really, you don't look that far. The bay, full of little fishes, curious, darting at your toes is much more interesting. As I float on my back cushioned by the cool embrace of the sea, the sky seems close enough to touch and I feel like I never want to go back to the craziness of every day. A quick shake before collapsing on the lounger, Guiness coming to visit, his furry brown body wiggling in ecstasy as I scratch behind his ears or rub his tummy.

My life has been a constant of crunch across the dry, cracking earth, begging for rain, to the beach where all there is to do is nothing but relax. Lesuirely lunches, sleeping if I want or a quick walk down the lanes into 'town'. Three shops, the bakery or drinks on the sea, maybe a homemade ice cream dripping deliciously on my fingers in the heat. The quirky trees lining the lanes all have personalities, they reach upwards inviting you to look at them and guess as to what they resemble, no walk is boring, you never know when you'll trip over one of the island's tortoises who have the run of the place.

So no, even though I included a picture of Guniness the wonder dog who is much more photogenic than me, I don't have tons of photos to mark this occasion but I do have many happy memories that will stay with me to be shared in the telling. Thanks to everybody here who made me feel so welcome, for taking care of me and caring that I had a good time.Do you remember the times of your life?

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