The last weeks of 2010 have been remarkably beautiful in Jamaica. The simple, pale blue of the morning sky. Dove-grey clouds like cotton wool piled up on the top of the hills, with the faintest promise of rain. An American Redstart flitting in the shade of the bougainvillea bushes – acid orange and velvety black amongst the sugar-pink flowers. The dark sheen on the leaves of the lignum vitae trees. Big crimson apples on our tree, and we are competing with fruit bats and birds to claim a few. In the evening, a slender crescent moon rests on its back above our neighbors’ roof. The raucous call of the Jamaican Woodpecker, in the early morning and at dusk. Shadowy purple sunsets, tree frogs calling as darkness falls.
And yet, this morning the Petchary feels great sadness at the departure of a passionate, humane and kindly soul. How he would have loved the green glow of this morning’s dawning, and the sharp, ringing call of the Doctor Bird (the Red-Billed Streamertail) at his home in the hills surrounding Kingston. He had a deep love of the environment. But his eyes are closed now.
The Petchary thinks John Maxwell was a new soul. He will soon be back again, to fill this world with laughter (his delightful chuckle) and humanity (his concern and anger over the plight of the people of Haiti) and charm (his ability to connect with people, intuitively and with grace and humor).
I am talking about him as a human being, knowing that at different times in his life he has been a newspaper columnist, teacher, political supporter, public servant and for fifty years a journalist – and probably other public roles that I am unaware of. But the Petchary’s fondest memory is of John as our first choice for Santa in the children’s section of a Kingston bookstore where she worked, years ago. We dressed him in that stifling costume, and he was perfect, smiling and without complaint.
Until we meet again, John.
And a little brawta…
- In Kingston, the real heart of Jamaica beats (thestar.com)
- A Taste of Jamaica: A Recipe for Mango Smoothie (trifter.com)
- Tuesday: Green acres, here I come! Heading to the farm land of Jacob’s Ladder in Haddon, St. Ann (economy4abc.blogspot.com)