In my last post... I bemoaned the [too] sudden "loss" of the Paradise that we most certainly "found" in the Barbados. How could a place of such new and visually stunning beauty... of unusual human warmth and acceptance... complete freedom of movement... and physical
warmth not be an ideal for the term "Paradise"... "Eden"?
I was well-acquainted with the biblical use of these two terms... but I was curious about the other possible meanings for them... so, as is my usual practice when my curiosity runs wild... I searched out their dictionary meanings. I found that Paradise and Eden... beyond their biblical relationship... shared the notion that they both represented "a place of delight... contentment or bliss." In other words... they both represented an enhanced state of mind.
This latter concept of the word Paradise better suits the notion of what Deb and I both had experienced... and the feeling of dejection... no withdrawal that we both felt upon our arrival back to Canada. We discovered... and sadly to our chagrin... that the country remained unchanged and still... much in the same icy cold clutches of winter. I think that we both might well identified with and felt the same disorientation at that moment... as the "original"cast of the biblical story... when they were expelled... forever... from Eden!
Over the past week back in Hillsdale, our earlier life and state of mind has been difficult to return to... with our minds continually volleying back n' forth between the two diametrically opposed states of mind... Eden vs Reality... and a very tropical vs polar natural environment. Add to that... the reality that small retail businesses everywhere and especially in the Arts... (including our own) are facing some uphill challenges over the next few months.
I really did enjoy our trip to Eden... Paradise... call it whatever you will... both from a tourist'point of view and from an artistic stance as well. However, I came away with much more in the way of benefits. We enjoyed visiting my eldest daughter Lisa's world... and having the benefit of her presence... knowledge of... and passion for the Barbados. I came to better understand and feel more comfortable, as her Father... with her passion and desire to fully make her life there at some time in the near future.
As a died-in-the-wool history buff... I spent much of my time there acquainting myself with the past histories of the Island... both natural and human... as a way to better understand what was unfolding before "Me." I came away with such respect for the Bajan populace as a whole. They have finally... after 300 years of slavery... injustice...oppression and suffering started to enjoy a more equitable quality of life and their rightful place as pilots of their own ship. The yoke of control under slavery and British Colonialism is disappearing... and being replaced by educated Bajan leaders who are prepared and willing to lead their countrymen towards economic self-determination and political decision-making. Their time has finally arrived!
In this process, they have managed to retain their strong and proud connection to their black cultural identity. They continue to maintain an unusual sense of humour... tolerance... and Faith in God and in themselves. We were approached only twice by some one asking for a hand out... and those individuals truly seemed in desperate need. People were visibly "making ends meet"... or as the phrase goes on the Island... "Doin' the best I can!"
Medical care... drugs and hospital care are free to all Bajans. Education is free all the way through from Primary School through to Post Secondary Education. There exists a number of exceptional community colleges and even North American University campuses in the Caribbean... each providing even the poorest, but intellectually capable and motivated students the opportunity to advance in their culture. The US and Canada... being more affluent and able to provide this same level playing field to their poor... should take notice. It CAN be done!
I had planned to run a number of posts to give a more elaborate reporting of my discoveries... but I could be locked into that task far beyond space... or interest allows. I think that you can see that I came away enriched and motivated by the experience. But more than that even... I returned more grateful for the Freedom that I have enjoyed... simply by the good fortune of my birth. The experience made me even more deeply aware of the many simple daily blessings that we all share in our Western World.
In closing... I wish to thank my lovely daughter Lisa for her generosity and love... in providing this uplifting experience for Deb and I. I am forever grateful to "Her" for this gift of the heart! I wish too... to thank her Bajan partner Dorian for spending many hours of his time showcasing his beautiful country... and opening up doors and our eyes to places and experiences that no tourist can hope to reach reach into... or come to understand in such a limited stay. Thank "You".... "Big D"!!!
I am posting the remainder of my Barbadian sketches. I hope that you enjoy them... and they might tweak your fancy... to pay a visit to this friendly... safe Jewel of the Caribbean . You will never regret the decision... I assure you!
I will use this post as well... to bid my other lovely daughter Allison... "Bon Voyage"... and safe journey to your very own version of Paradise ...found... Venezia. Enjoy your teaching assignment and research opportunity... and then get back to us to share stories about our separate Edens!
The mantra for Bajans... as posted on the walls of schools... and spoken from the hearts of their spiritual and government leaders appears so simple on the surface... but it touched my soul and I have adapted it as my own simply because... I believe its every word and will try to continue to practise it in my own daily life:
"Life is complicated. Do your best!"
Can "You"?... Will "You".... try to your best?
"I" will !
Happy Easter to all. Give thanks for your blessings for a few moments... if only quietly within!
Good Painting to ALL!
PLEASE NOTE!.... It would seem that I ahve a spacing glitch in this post that I can't figure out for the moment. If you wish to leave a comment... scroll down.....WAY DOWN! It is there! HAHA!