Do You Really Think They Know?
By Jodi Harding / Beyond the Pineywoods
I really don’t have a particular style of writing or even a genre I favor; I basically have a thought and go with it. Today’s thought: Do you think they know…?
I turn to the wonderful lady next to me, she’s a local, a tour guide, a mom, and a woman who in a short amount of time- I envy…and ask “Do you think they know …?” and before I can finish my statement, she says, “that they are blessed?…no.” I’m referring to the kids in front of me, swimming and singing without a care in the world.
We’re standing next to the Blue Hole in Negril Jamaica; it’s a 25 foot drop (you can use the ladder or dive) into a 35 foot sinkhole. It has to be the bluest color ever, and it seems like it reflects the sky. This place reminds me of an hourglass- what’s up is down- depends on where you are at. I took the ladder.
The water here is cool brackish water, both salt and fresh. There’s fish, little ones, then I notice a dark movement, which I chose to ignore, in the depths below, and the walls…wow….They’re a beautiful velvet green that’s covering the mineral deposits. Ms. V hands me a spoon and proceeds to tell me to scrape the minerals off the rock and basically apply it anywhere I can. Now imagine this next statement in the best Jamaican accent you can… “The old and new come together”, she says, “Your skin will look alive and new ‘mon.”
The kids are so sweet, innocent and truly seem without a care in the world….i want that. So I sit and listen. I watch my incredibly handsome hubby swim, jump, dive and lather in minerals too. I’m happy. This is peace. Ms. V grins & asks ‘what are you watching girl?” Everything, I’m taking it all in. I’m not sure I even reply, but I feel her pat my back. You see this isn’t our first trip to Jamaica, but each time I find myself learning more and more and actually I just find myself. There is simplicity of life, the slow pace and the ability to want for nothing when you have nothing. You hear the locals say “Respect ‘mon,” all the time…it’s a way of life. They respect others, themselves and everything around them.
I see the adults and how they act and interact with the children, then just like us back at home I see how our behaviors are a direct influence on our kids. Here I am in a country hours away from my reality and its all the same, yet drastically different.
I start to climb my way out and with my “new & alive” skin, it’s a bittersweet feeling because the cares have washed away, but I know this feeling won’t last forever, it will be back to reality soon. The man sitting at the top of the ladder smiles and like an old wise man, says” America…you are fast- too fast. Slow down”. I smile because he is right. The other young man, maybe early 20’s, says “in America you go, go, go, like a computer (which ironically I’m writing this on), you don’t stop your brains ‘mon, don’t stop”. “You need to take the computer chip out, like defrag… ya ‘mon…slow down.”
Ms. V shakes her head and says, “Jamaican people, we are all right”. Of course Bob Marley lyrics are scrolling through my head now and I daze off again. I can’t focus, which is great for a change!
So with that, I take a depth breath and ask myself that same question “Do you know how blessed you are?” and I can honestly answer yes….. And I vow to practice being more “like Jamaica.”
Fast forward a couple of days. I’m on the plane home to the states, and I’m listening to all the flight instructions that I’ve heard over and over for years: stay seated, mask overhead, pull strings, repeat and I go numb to the repetitive normalcy. Flight goes by and we are landing: stay seated, fasten belts, no phones, repeat.
So this is life, I’ve become a computer. The next few hours are full of navigating through the airport, toll tags, luggage, etc… basically reality. As we ease onto the freeway I notice I’m tense as ever and my ‘new and alive’ skin feels more like I’m in one of those infomercials with the shrink wrap and it is suffocating. Geesh! So I turn to my hubby and very point blank I say “no more, we are blessed, we make our own luck, I wanna be Jamaica.” All he says back is “ok”. No change in facial expression, no laughing at me, nothing. That was it from him – end of discussion. I stared at him speechless (which is rare for me & I know he’s enjoying this however brief it may be) and he finally says, “ok, so be alright…just let yourself be alright.” Ughhh – Men…. But he’s right.
Now I don’t know how long this will last, but let me tell you I am trying my darndest to just ‘be’ and ‘be alright’, be more Jamaican, have Respect, slow down & defrag. It’s soothing to the soul and hard has ever to maintain, but when I feel that numbness of normalcy creeping up I close my eyes, and repeat again (in my best Jamaican accent),” I know……I am blessed and ‘don’t worry ‘bout a thing, ‘cause every little thing gonna be alright”.
……and then I start planning my next trip!