As my summer vacation dwindles away, I decided to make one more trip to Ocho Rios, where I hoped to take lots of pictures, revisit those special childhood places, and perhaps shoot an instructional video on some aspect of clicker training.
I hardly reached my destination when my car tangoed with that of another car. I walked away unhurt, as did the driver of the other car, but I was so badly shaken by the experience, that the video was just out of the question. The accident was minor, but left me feeling deflated, flat, not wanting to do anything, but turn tail and head back home where I could seek the safety of my home. I could do that, but or I could salvage the day. I chose the latter, because I knew that I would not pass this way again, not for a long time, and I would never capture the essence of the day, ever.
Me, Mom, and Athena, drove on to Discovery Bay. I grew up in that town. It’s a quite, simple town, where virtually everyone who lived there, and the next town over, worked with the bauxite company there. In the evenings, around the time that I was visiting on this day, Mom used to take me and my brother when we were little to Columbus Park, which is really an outdoor museum that houses Spanish and British artifacts from Jamaica’s colonial history. The park is closed down because the bauxite company, which owns the park, can no longer afford to maintain it. I managed to get passed the barriers to take pictures.
Standing on the fort under the big almond tree as the sun began setting reminded me of the many evenings when me and my brother sat astride the canons and looked out to sea with our imaginary telescopes, searching for bad guys who might be approaching our beloved shores. I remembered how the huge water wheel creeked and groaned as it slowly turned. It stands silently now.
We headed out to the gounds of the bauxite company where my dad worked for many years. The gates leading to the property were locked, but I could drive up a nearby hill and take pictures of the famous dome, arguably Discovery Bay’s most famous landmark. As I snapped those photos of the dome against the azure of the Caribbean Sea, I had this deep sense of sadness. I couldn’t tell whether it was longing or regret.
I wanted so badly to go back to that place and time when I felt safe, when I believed that those whom I loved would be with me forever.
The summer of my childhood has long since disappeared, and I’m only left with what’s ahead. I realize that I’m truly blessed, and my experiences in Discovery Bay contributed to who I am today. It’s up to me to make a new beginning as I think about returning to work–shaping Jamaica’s future leaders–that’s the best way to be grateful for all that I have.