Monday, December 23, 2013

How would one know?

Our correspondent landed in
Grenada as I was born; this
he tells us merrily, in his
first published travels. It
would be some 21 years be-
fore I got there, not know-
ing at the time that our
footsteps were so much as
intersecting, walking Grand
Anse toward St George's, as
the children played in the
silent sea. Some of my fav-
ourite, sweetest pictures,
I took with my earliest M,
of their splashing in the
tide as if to wake it up;
and it's my guess that he
did, too, with probably a
iii-f model. But he was in
Grenada as a landfall in a
Leeward Islands checklist
in his post-war travels in
the Caribbean; and I was
there because a rowing mate
in freshman crew had plant-
ed dreams of the island in
my mind, as we would haul
back up to Commons for our
dinner after dark. Travels
follow from affections al-
most as bananas succeeding
themselves upon the branch,
re-enacting flowerings. 

Did I know what to expect?

Yes, but what's it like?

Well, it's light, like con-
fetti. It falls out of the
sky and blows about in the
wind. It's terribly cold,
and when it settles it re-
sembles cassava or mashed
potatoes. Your feet leave
marks on it as though you
were treading on sand, and
you can make balls of it,
or even snowmen. It is so
heavy it sometimes breaks
the branches of trees. It's
deep and crisp and even ...

I'm sorry. I don't get it,
maan. I don't get it at all.
Not what it's really like.

Sir Patrick Leigh-Fermor, DSO, OBE
The Traveller's Tree
  A Journey through the Caribbean Islands
New York Review Books, 2011©

i - iii  Tom Barker

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