Market Street, Falmouth c. 1844 by Adolph Duperly

The sorrel has been drawn and the fruit basket is full of oranges, tangerines, grapefruit, june plums, solo sunrise papayas and a few out-of-season sugar mangoes that I was lucky to get from Purcell, my fruit vendor in Water Square. Their mingled scents purfume the crisp country air that flows unabatedly through my studio apartment which I share with Tristan and Isolde, my two cats who came down from Gallery Way to keep me company.

We are enjoying our new home in Martha Brae on the periphery of a mango orchard: the wide, open spaces, the heavy dewfall, the wild plants and flowers, the flocks of chattering parrots and the scarlet insistence of woodpeckers, the piles of horse dung that go to enrich the compost. Such a challenge to start a garden from scratch, but a source of unending joy as it takes shape from week to week, carved out of and wrested from the robust tenacity of the persistent weeds. Those members of my orchid collection which I have transferred here from Kingston are thriving in their new environment, some rewarding me with copious blooms for the first time in their lives with me. I am anxious to retrieve the rest which are no doubt suffering from lack of attention.

My work is varied and challenging but fulfilling for the most part. My tasks have included conceiving and designing projects and writing proposals as you would expect, but the range has also been extended to marketing fresh produce, herbs and National Housing Trust lots, conducting community meetings, backstage managing a gospel concert, and giving talks at primary schools. I had said I came to Trelawny to make a difference and my bluff is being called. They have appointed me Trelawny representative on the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce's National Junior Achievement Council and I have been elected Secretary of the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission's Trelawny Cultural Development Committee.

I have long maintained that culture is the only product we have to offer the world. Our much vaunted tourism product could gain much more value and competitive advantage if the cultural content were developed and emphasised. Now I have the opportunity to bring all of my skills to bear and put into practice many ideas that I have held about new paradigms, new approaches to arrive at new solutions. The old answers certainly have not worked. The time is now to stop talking.
The time is now to do.

Paradoxically, for me the time is now also to be. My sense of presence, awareness of the now has never been more acute. This I attribute directly to my study over the past year of Zen Buddhism and the evolution of my meditation practice from a compote of TM, raja yoga and counting breaths to zazen , just sitting, and allowing whatever thoughts to come, to go. Since ALL form, all manifestations are impermanent, it makes a lot of sense to me to become neither attached nor averse to any. We may still have desire, which is the impetus of life to express itself, using mind to create and manifest, but not become attached to the desire or to the results.

In the Universal Mind, we are all one. There is no separation. All distinctions and differences are ephemeral and ultimately illusory. Since I am connected directly to you in this way I take the opportunity at the end of this year (another arbitrary, illusory distinction) to bring to your conscious awareness what I am being and doing. If you are so moved to respond in like manner, I would love to hear from you - though I would be neither attached nor averse to receiving your reply (;-)

Peace, Joy and Prosperity to you now and all through 2000.

Christmas 1999

© 1999