September 10, 2004

And goodbye to Aaron

No easy way to say that Aaron Hawkins, better known around these parts as The Uppity Negro, is dead.

His is a voice we can little afford to lose in the blogworld, but that doesn't compare to the loss his family and close friends must be wrestling with.

Sympathies and sadness seem to be all I can muster. Damn.

Read George Kelly and Trancejen.

And Sour Bob: "Suicide is what happens when the pain someone feels outweighs his or her ability to deal with pain."


Some of my posts that have referenced Jamaica over the last couple of years follow. When I think of what is happening there, I can't really think at all. I love that country, that sea, the people, the cadence.

Love Locked

A Certain Longing, June 2002

This is the time of year we usually visit Jamaica, a place and people I've come to love, a music I understood only once I set it to the rhythm of the waves. But this year, we couldn't go, and it's left a longing in me that I wrote about yesterday. Figured I'd post it here:


Runaway Bay, my toes hit the water, I am home, cool Jamaican sea, salt smells comfort, a place I never want to leave. Quiet waves, I sink in, drifting, green-blue carries me far from shore. Sky sea horizon cools ancient fires, drifting still, on my back, bobbing, unnoticed, I do not exist: this is peace.

What brushes against my thigh? Bringing me back, it is slow and gentle, not a creature. I tread water, bring myself upright, as you emerge from under me. Splashes smiles welcoming arms, let's float together. I wrap around you, arms and legs, you hold me there, so you can swim us further out.

From the shore, children giggle and play, call "party wave!" and ride sea to sand. They are echos, distant songs, their cheering and laughter remembers us. I reach between my legs, slip my swimsuit to the side, dip under water long enough to pull your trunks down, take your sweetness out, you floating now, reaching for me as I re-emerge, wrap my arms around your neck, greet you eye to eye, tongue to tongue, we kiss long and slow.

Finally a place out of time to be just us, away from home, away from shore, weightless, no past/future, you probe for me, guide me onto you, bringing the cool sea water with you as I slide you deeper in.

Can we stay this way forever? Love locked. Even now. Still, floating, you inside me, me holding you with legs that wrap tight, breasts riding the water's surface, I feel your heat warm me, my wetness caress you, float with it, drink it in, this love sea.

Like a seam, zipping the world closed

Sea Dream Interpretation, January 2003

I managed to live the first 38 years of my life without ever having a recurring dream. Not so anymore. Over the last year or two there's one dream I have again and again.

First, some history.

We've visited Jamaica twice over the last three years. Jamaica represents the sea to me. I know this. More than the daunting poverty, the imbalance of riches in the country, more than jerk chicken or reggae, I associate Runaway Bay with the sea. For me, nothing compares to standing at the edge of the sea, fixing my eyes on the the fine line of the horizon, a seam zipping the world closed.

More about me and water. Water and I go way back.

I grew up never more than a few miles from Lake Ontario. Not the sea, by any means, but an expansive Great Lake and a force nonetheless. I had a love hate relationship with the lake. I did my dreaming there. I rode my horse across Lakeshore Boulevard in the summer and swam him in the lake. Nothing in my life--still--compares to the feeling of that lake, of swimming my horse. Muscle meets water, floating, snorting. Riding across the sand on this soily beach. Looking for driftwood. The stench of seaweed and dead fish. The summer air lit with beating waves, hot sun, shade trees. These are memories of the lake I treasure. I can snap them front and center in my mind with one mental click.

Then there was my stepfather's sailboat. Our family recreation in the summer consisted of my step-sister and I being dragged for weekends out on the lake in my step-father's 28-foot sailboat. We'd sail to Sodus Bay or spend the weekend in Fairhaven.

You might think I'd remember these times fondly, but for a twelve-year-old held captive in a dysfunctional family, 48 solid hours sharing a 28x10 with space our parents, no sight of land--just an expanse of water--was not joyous. It's hard to escape family wounding when you're sharing the small confines of a sailboat for hours or days on end. Mostly, it brought out the worst in us all, if you don't count the bonus that my step-sister and I got nicely tanned, and that somehow the ancient waters empathized with us.

Ripe with reason, I have always loved, have never blamed, the water. When I couldn't get to the lake, I sought out swimming pools as a kid--never deterred by cold water or 60-degree evenings. I cleansed in rivers and dug clay with my hands from the bottoms of streams.

That is some history of me and water.

Back to my recurring dream. We are on vacation in Jamaica (George, Jenna, and me). Sometimes it looks like the resort we visit, sometimes it doesn't. The crux of the dream is this: I never make it into the sea before we leave. There is always something keeping me from the sea. We're having drinks, I'm getting food for Jenna, we're talking with our friends who meet us there, we're taking island tours that we've never taken. And all of a sudden the bus is coming to take us to the airport when I, in a panic, realize I forgot to get into the sea. I never made it--it's further away and less obvious in my dream, and I forget to make my way to the water.

Did some digging on Google for dream interpretations. Found this about water:

Water symbols i.e. sea, rivers, lakes, canals, etc. reflect the spiritual or cultural life of the dreamer. How water appears or is organized indicates the dreamer's philosophy of life. A river indicates the dreamer needs a more free spiritual flow. A canal or swimming pool, both man made structures, indicates man-made or conventional ideals are restricting the dreamer's Spiritual flow. A lake or pool indicates that the dreamer does not have a spiritual outlet. The sea or ocean indicates the dreamer's spirituality / life is the subject matter. Diving into the any body of water is a request for the dreamer to get into life. The state of the water can also indicate the condition of the dreamer's blood. Polluted water indicates a need to cleanse the blood by a change of diet and/or improved elimination. - avcweb

A ring of truth to that--needing to redefine, to find, to unwrap and nurture my spiritual self. She isn't sure what's out there, which way to go, and at the same time sees the expanse of what's out there. Finding my place. Remembering to find my self. I think that's the reminder within this water dream of mine.

Once you've been

Reggae Sea, June 2002.

Right now, this very minute, I wish I were in Jamaica, 2 a.m. Nights there on the beach at runaway bay, the heat lifting just enough, and all-day swimming with a still-wet suit on, a welcoming cool breeze, open bar, smoking and talking and just listening to the waves crash. The Piano Bar's the only thing left open, and stays open until the last indulgent visitor is done indulging in the last drink of the night. Purple Rain anyone? It goes down smooth.

I never understood Reggae, never got into it before seeing for myself the enthralling beauty, the endless sky against the despair and poverty that is Jamaica. I would say to my husband, "It all sounds so much the same." Him telling me, "Listen closer."

This isn't one of those, "I go to Nashville and now I 'get' country music" things. It's much more primal, internal--has to do with waves, tide, moon.

It's the cadence of the waves; the sea is the context for reggae. Every break of every wave comes at just the right instant in every song, embellishing, making it so much more. I can still hear it; it goes like this, as I invoke Bob Marley (play the song in your head--not just the words):

Get up, stand up
(wave crash)
stand up for your right
(wave crash)
Get up stand up
(wave crash)
Don't give up the fight
(wave crash)

Preacher man don't tell me (wave crash) heaven is under the earth (wave crash)
I know you don't know (wave crash) what life is really worth
(wave crash)
Is not all that glitters in go--(wave crash)--ld and
Half the story has never been to--(wave crash)--ld
So now you see the light, (wave crash) aay
Stand up for your right. (wave crash) Come on.

The sea is missing in the recordings. But once you've been, you play it for yourself, bring yourself to the song, bring the sea with you.

September 09, 2004

So much trouble in the world

God bless Jamaica.

The clouds move in this evening.

They talk about Ivan.

The night is as still as they get, the sea is calm, the stars are out - but we heard hammers pounding until after dark. The neighborhood is getting ready.

The eye is projected to hit within .07 mile of Kingston.

Oh no.

Date: 09-10-04 21:29people on were connected to Power106 FM until the server became too busythey posted these comments they heard on the air:Woman calling in now looking for transportation to a shelter. They're telling her the winds are probably too strong for any public transportation to pick her up, so she has to find her own way there.Yorktown person talking ....... most windows gone, some people in shelters. The wind is taking down houses, trees and light poles.people are now starting to flock to the shelters.some are filling up and some of the shelters are prone to flooding and people are being directed elsewhere.gangs of men are looting, armed and dangerous..Roads are void of traffic and full of debri.. Trees and parts of roofs....A woman just called in to report that her house is coming apart and the roof is coming off, relating the information as calmly as if she was reciting a recipe to the commentators.Zinc roofs flying left and right, sounds of flapping roof to be heard in the background in Manchester and St. Andrew.Heavy looting in Montego Bay, warehouses and cars are broken serving as a shelter for 600 people lost it's they are moving the people...In St. Mary various buildings have been flattened.

And it hasn't even made landfall yet.