Paradise is More Than Beaches. Don’t Miss it…
Paradise is defined by one central uncompromising element: white sandy beaches with crystal-clear blue water. There was always a slight eruption of pride bubbling to the surface of my being as a newbie to the mainland United States. The first inquiry was, “I hear an accent. Where are you from?” And if you’re native to the Caribbean, live on the mainland, and have a Caribbean accent, you know what it is: you’re from Jamaica.
But due to unwelcome visitors, Irma and Maria, needless to say, our status has changed to, “ Didn’t a hurricane ….?” “Yes, actually there were two.”
But for me, the Virgin Islands is more than “ Didn’t a hurricane…? Or “Jamaica, right.”
“Uh, No.” Wrong again buddy.
However, the Virgin Islands is my homeland, and the pride that comes with home cannot be dwindled into a default assumption, no matter how cool. Although we are One Caribbean Strong, the Virgin Islands is my paradise.
But my fascination with paradise goes far beyond a Saturday at the beach that wrinkled my fingertips, shrunk the kink in my hair, and gave me a tan line that lasted weeks.
It wasn’t just about the ritual of getting water from the ocean to wash my feet, and getting the sand off before I would dear consider hopping into my parents’ car.
The pride comes from the entire experience of being born and raised on a small island, 32 square miles, is something I have grown into truly appreciating. The uniqueness of my experience fills my cup with sobering gratitude.
Being on the mainland has given me a different perspective from my much greener and coming of age self. Paradise is the beach, it is the people, it is the resiliency of the people, but it is also waking up in the morning, opening the door to the quiet, breathing in the pure morning dew, walking a couple of feet with plush greenery in panoramic view, and yanking some wild lemongrass from the rich virgin earth.
I could say the same for the man selling jelly nuts at the edge of Brewer’s Beach who worked magic with his machete. And before you knew it, my lips were at the rim of a jelly nut delighting in its offering.
Or perhaps it was the smell of rotting mangoes or the brushing of leaves as a perfectly ripe mango broke free from its stem, grazing, and slipping the grasp of its plush green leaves, as it plummeted towards the ground and ended with a signature thumb and roll.
Paradise is the purity that comes from the soil. Everything that grows wild or planted in the virtue of the soil was my missed Pride.
Now, I think about my grandmother, my granny, who would tell me she wanted to show me something, and we would go outside to her yard. There, she would show me what was brewing in her tiny garden. My grandmother Margaret would smile, knowing she had the power to pull something form her garden when her grand babies came to spread their influenza-filled bodies all over the over-sized king bed that swallowed her room. “drink this.” Those words were signature, and hard to swallow–literally.
We didn’t question. Actually we did, but her death stare made the Q and A session real short.
Her captivating smile widened knowing she could take something purely from the wildness and purity of her yard and bring healing or betterment to our bodies.
Truly, this small act that was the cornerstone of my grandmother’s pride, love, and compassion is Paradise Blush.
There are fruits, herbs, vegetables, some unique to the Virgin Islands and the Caribbean that have within them countless medicinal benefits that I want to bring to the attention of more Virgin Islanders. I want Virgin Islanders to have a full sense of pride knowing the full and complete beauty of living on their small island.
The super foods sitting right under our noses. Knowing is the first step to change towards health and wellness.
The longer I’m on the mainland and study health, wellness, I become more passionate, I am fascinated by the conversation that surrounds so many of the fruits, herbs, and vegetables that I grew up stepping over, or turning up my nose. Health an wellness is in our control, but it starts with knowing. We live in a world filled with disease, sickness,and uncertainty that steals our time and life. Let’s get life and wellness back and towards a wealthy future of health and vitality.
So to my people: Let’s get onward, facing wellness because a little bit of goodness yanked right from purity goes a long way in Elevating Your Existence.