Winter has begun at home. Many northern readers will scoff at my calling it a winter but it is true. Winter has come to the Caribbean.
It means that the sun rises more lazily and with less malice and the cool air on my morning walks will dance goosebumps awake between the short strands of hair on my arms. It means that ten o’clock doesn’t feel like visit to the sun, the sea takes on a personality of frothy whitecaps, and the evening light falls yellow through the blossom-heavy poinciana trees. Winter light is different. It is softer and makes paradise more picturesque. My mother pointed this out to me as a child and when the light begins to change I think of other winters spent wrapped in the love of my family. Lullabies in hammocks hung between tamarind trees with stars peeking down between the leaves. Fishing off a rocky outcrop with my grandmother calling “Duck!” every time she went to cast a line. “Don’t want dat hook to ketch yu ear now!” The early morning static crackle of wind and the radio as my daddy and I would chase the dawn with the top down and hair flying in search of car parts and oily garages.
Many and fond are my winter memories.
More recently was my first sighting of snow in my first year of college standing at the window with my first boyfriend and watching it drift dreamy to cover the tennis court in white. My first snowball fight with my friends from Singapore. It had been their first one too. The sight of Durham Cathedral squinted at over the folds of my scarf from St. Aidan’s steps with misleading sunbeams dressing her turrets flung high into the winter sky. My twentieth birthday when I lost my gold stilettos and had to be carried laughing and just a little tipsy over icy streets on the backs of two friends to the taxi stand. Frozen mornings running late to lectures past C.S. Lewis’ lampost and over Prebends Bridge.
Winter is where I was born. Winter is where I found myself; my faith, my dreams, my fears and my melancholies.
This winter I might miss the snow. I may not get to London in time to see it in all its maddening wildness as it grips the belligerent and defiantly unprepared city. I am looking forward, nevertheless, to scones and mulled wine, crumpets and marmite, a flaky chocolate crepe after standing shivering in the long street line in Hampstead, and a fantasy-like trudge through the Heath.
But today, at home here in the Caribbean I welcome with thanksgiving the cool reprieve of our very own Winter.