Thursday, August 16, 2007

Pittstown Point, Bahamas

0 nm
Wind: E 10-15 knots

I’m sitting in my usual spot on the balcony, in my cozy teak recliner that probably cost $1000. I’ve been entertaining the cats this morning when I’m not helping Karl. According to Nappy, the owner of the house has sixty cats at home in Baton Rouge, so I figure if there’s one thing I can do that’ll make her happy, and more forgiving of us using her brand new fancy teak recliners and toilet paper and endless water, it’s feeding the two kittens that are hanging around. She even has some carefully bagged IAMS kitten cat food in the bottom of her refrigerator, and fancy new matched cereal bowls sitting downstairs collecting ants and sawdust. I cleaned out the bowls and filled them up with cat food (I’m hoping it’s not the Chinese rat poison kind) and fresh water, and I’ve been slowly making friends with them.

They’re beautiful tabby kittens, one bigger than the other, and I make them come mew at me in my screen room before I go feed them. I’ve also been training them to get more familiar with me, by standing closer and closer to their bowl and then waiting for them to come eat. The bigger one’s become really brave, and she’ll eat while I’m standing right behind the pillar, but the little one flinches and moves away whenever I move a muscle. They make me miss Rumor, hanging out and forgetting about me in Massachusetts, and Shafe, getting slowly older in Maine. Sometimes I think we’d be better off just heading back to the farm, growing organic habaneros and goats, and getting involved in local politics. Doesn’t sound like a bad life, does it? I know Karl’s mighty tempted by it, often. Not a bad life, if you can forget about the 40-below winters, which I can’t seem to do.

It’s beautiful here, too, and I’m enjoying getting reacquainted with land fauna--the porch is a stellar bird-watching spot, and the owner of the house has a ton of bird books, so I’ve been amusing myself by trying to figure out the birds and the plants. I also read a whole chaper on the awful sand flies that continue to haunt us and are not stopped by screens. Birds are a lot more fun to study, and I’ve learned that this is one of the few islands where the Bahamas woodstar, a hummingbird, can be seen. I hope I can find one one of these days. According to Nappy, there also used to be flamingos in the salt pond across the way, but when the sandpeople bulldozed a channel to the sea to get rid of the sulfur smell, the flamingos left. Now we have to go down to French Wells to see the flamingos. I didn’t even know the Bahamas had flamingos, but evidently there’s a migratory flock of thousands down in the Great Iguana salt pond, where the Morton Salt Company has its plant.

I do see why the owner built her house here, though, all Bahamian conventional wisdom to the contrary. It’s an exquisite spot, and I know I could put up with the spiders and sand flies and crumbling earth. I could be perfectly content to sit here on this porch with my laptop for the rest of my life, I think, the rippled blue sea to my back, the yellow-breasted birds returning to the red flowers on the trees, the wilderness encroaching on every side. This would be a place to have a room of one’s own. Unfortunately, it’s not mine. Maybe she’ll trade for a dirty boat.

2 comments:

Carlos said...
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rgatens said...

I think you should make it a point to forward your section on the Baton Rouge woman's house to her. She would surely appreciate it. She might even invite you to help her out with it, an option which some people would like very much.
I say this because you write very well. You got your money's worth from Wheaton College.
I have been reading your blog all day, and I am still reading.