As I write this column, the huge Hurricane Irma is directly hurtling towards our former Leeward Islands’ lovely home of Antigua and Barbuda, threatening to trash the small islands and test its’ big-hearted people like never before. After looking at the online weather update, Tuesday and acknowledging there was not going to be any desperate last minute turn nor desired respite from nature’s most powerful force, in a panic, I hurriedly telephoned a few of our friends. While I laughed nervously as they told me not to worry, we chatted in earnest about their preparations for the first Category Five catastrophic storm to slam into the country in recent recorded history.
Shutters were up, water and non-perishable foods stored, refrigerators emptied, ice boxes dusted off, and frisky pets brought in and secured. In the philosophical words of my elderly former landlord, “we have done all that we can, now we can only wait, the rest is up to the Almighty.” I would hear the popular reference trusting in God repeatedly, as a nation’s belief in a divine force greater than any spirited squall rose to the fore bringing comfort in an uncertain and worrisome time.
When I finally reach her late that evening, my neighbour Rhonda tells me the rains had already started falling in the little valley at the foot of the humped Mount Pleasant, as she worried about the likely fate of her small but beautiful garden wrestled from a forbidding desert of thorny acacia and the occasional, hardy neem…..