If you’re thinking there’s no spring in Jamaica, you’d be right. Even one of our venerable poets, H.D. Carberry, couldn’t resist celebrating this fact in his poem, Nature.
We have neither Summer nor Winter
Neither Autumn nor Spring.
We have instead the days
When the gold sun shines on the lush green cane fields –
But if you think of spring as a period of rebirth and rejuvenation, a time to restart or reboot then we do experience spring. And despite it being the dry season now — it started round December and will continue through April or May — several events have begun that signal the return of our Jamaican spring.
Like the blossoming of the poui tree. Although we have many more days without rain now, the trees have already burst forth in a riot of yellow and pink. Their unmistakably brilliant colors draw the eye to where ever the trees are located and it’s not unusual to hear someone call out, Look, a poui tree!
I did exactly that while driving home last Sunday. As my eyes traveled up the hills above the city, I spotted two patches of dazzling yellow. That can’t be the poui, I thought. But as I got closer, I knew without doubt that it was and it brought on an unexpected feeling of happiness that plastered a big smile to my face.
The blooming of the poui tree doesn’t always bring smiles. Sometimes it acts as a clear reminder for students at the local university that it’s time to hit the books as exams are around the corner.
In addition to the poui, the Flame of the Forest dazzles with its radiant flowers — I love seeing splashes of red in a carpet of green — and the flowering of the cactus.
It might seem unusual for the dry Jamaican spring to also be the start of flower show season, but it is. Two weekends ago, the orchid show brought out orchid enthusiasts and growers. There will be other shows around the island from now through August.
The jackfruit and otaheiti apple are some of the fruits that are plentiful now. While the jackfruit isn’t one of my favorites — it’s got an unusual taste and a distinct flavor — the deep red cotton-candy-tasting otaheiti apple is. But the jackfruit’s packed with dietary fiber and has no cholesterol or saturated fats so I should probably try to get used to the taste.
While some fruits are ready for eating, others, like the mango are just blossoming.
And the reaped canefields lie bare and fallow to the sun.
It’s reaping time for sugar cane now and in the cane belt, you’ll see fields that are covered in tall grass-like leaves standing next to those that have been reaped, and trucks laden down with joints of the sugary cane.
But best of all there are the days when the mango and logwood blossom
When bushes are full of the sound of bees and the scent of honey,
When the tall grass sways and shivers to the slightest breath of air,
When the buttercups have paved the earth with yellow stars
And beauty comes suddenly and the rains have gone.
Jamaicans love sports and in our Jamaican spring, schools begin hosting or participating in meets that identify the athletes that will represent them at national and international tournaments later in the year. One of the most popular, the Gibson Relays, took place about ten days ago and the Boys and Girls Champs will roll around in March.
Though we’re not hosting the matches, almost everyone’s following the coverage of the West Indies team as they go up against Zimbabwe in cricket, as well as the performance of the women’s team in cricket World Cup.
These are some of our unmistakable signs of spring in Jamaica. While it might not be a distinct season as it is elsewhere, we do experience a period of rebirth that is just as beautiful and remarkable.
This is my entry to Traveling with Sweeney‘s Spring-themed blog carnival. Please be sure to head over and check out other posts that celebrate spring around the world.