In the morning the birds share their dreams with each other, some might think, their whistling and chirps as they awake loud in the area. The Corbeaux shift from their roosts; you need to watch their trees or they may make rain for you. And the day starts, the honed cutlass slicing through the smaller growth easily.
Clearing the brush is a lot like life. The bigger problems are surrounded by the smaller ones, and you have to clear space to get a good swing at them. Sometimes they’re mired with vines and other brush with thorns or spikes, sometimes not, but it’s never a clear shot to the larger problems.
What appears to be a mating pair of red-tailed hawks perch on a tree not too far away; I go for the camera but they have other things to do that are more important than them. Their presence might explain why I’ve seen no owls. They are territorial. That’s one of the reasons I’m not going through with a tractor or other heavy equipment on this hill. Nests.
Cars begin to echo off the highway that was built through my land – which they have yet to pay for – and I push that from my mind, expanding the perimeter I have created on the hill.
Voices filter through along our private road as WASA works alongside the highway. Noisy creatures, humans. The backhoes and excavators start up. The people on the project are parked on my property along the private road right now – without any design, rhyme or reason. They don’t really care. To them it’s open land. They will be gone soon enough.
The sun has begun it’s ascent. The birds quiet, the odd chirp as they stay in the shadows, hunting insects. No doubt my clearing brush has moved some of those insects toward them.
The quick rustles of leaves marks the passing of a young iguana. It’s good to see the young ones; they are hunted for their meat by the younger men in the village. To be an iguana is to live a hunted life in Trinidad. Nevermind the other traffic back there. Everyone knows what goes on back there, though it’s likely exaggerated. And the missing calves is a mystery, but it’s not my mystery to solve. I’m sure that the South Oropouche police are handling things, as are the former owners of the calves.
A break. Water. A few salt prunes. The wind makes its way through where I cleared, wicking the sweat from me. Cooling. I think about the cashiers at the hardware store thinking that I had a grandson. I do the math. Had I a child when I was 18, the child would have been 18 when I was 36, so sure. A frown. I don’t understand people having children so young.
And why did they think that? Oh. I need a haircut. Need to get that done.
I look down at the Dr. Martens. They’re dirty, worn and very comfortable. I might need something more presentable should I avail myself of more polite company, but I don’t really feel the need to be among polite company. There is an honesty when working by yourself outside. There’s no politics. If you don’t pull your weight, there is no one else to blame. It’s a lot like working with the Marines.
From the tailgate of the pickup, I swing my legs and I recall the first hump we did at Field Medical Service School to break in our boots. How I remembered my legs simply hanging but they felt like they were still moving after 7 miles with gear, about how many people were throwing stuff out of their packs on that march. 7 miles is nothing. After you’ve done a few 26 mile marches in a little over 5 hours with full gear, you know there aren’t real limits.
Time to get back to it. The piles of brush lay out drying in the last few days of sun for the dry season. I count 7 piles I’ve made. The first 2 were too big, but that’s still from the large amount of roseau (bactis major). The others are manageable and strategic.
There are things I need to do in the city, and I just don’t want to go. But I will take care of them. I’ve been saying that for days. Maybe even weeks. The road got graded, as did the top of the hill, and the plowing will be done in a day or two. I need plants.
When the rains start, I will shift my focus.
That’s a good plan.
I continue throughout the day, making inroads, coming across a birds nest here or there that I don’t disturb. I find the rubble I had trucked in from San Fernando, from my Uncle’s place, mixed in with materials from the other house on the hill I had grown up in. It’s poetic that the foundation for the road contains these materials, and it’s poetic that they are to be stood upon and not held up to the eye.
If you’re looking to your past for your future, you’re looking the wrong way.
The day continues.
The water is running out – the 5 liters are just about done. It’s time to call it a day.