Waking Up in Tarpum Bay

I don’t sleep late in Tarpum Bay…the sounds of the morning invade the senses. Gradually, like one of those alarm clocks that promise a gentle orientation into the world beginning softly and organizing into an energizing crescendo.

Morning here is like that.

It starts with this bird which hangs out just outside my bedroom
window. The bird has a whole repertoire of songs and he cycles through them randomly, beginning with a soft cluck, then some melodious chirping. and finally a long, intricate tune silvering into the still dark air.

That does it! He’s wakened the rooster who immediately pronounces is male-ness assertively into the morning. One thing about that rooster: he doesn’t
quit, either. He knows his place: he’s a signal for the entire town to begin movement and if I don’t move fast enough he will stand under someone’s porch, finding the exact place where the confluence of walls form a megaphone which seems pointed directly at my bedroom

It’s seven o’clock now, and people are beginning to move. Two bicyclist ride under the street lamp, young men on their was to fishing boats, probably. Another man stands on his porch as shouts a greeting.


The two riders wave back and disappear down the road along the sea.

The world lightens. The sea is calm and the sky has only a touch of morning clouds. The first truck of the day rolls past, a gravel truck filled to over-flowing, it’s engine straining as it turns a corner and crawls up the hill.

A radio plays, is turned off, and a police car cruises by,
the driver waving to the man in the yard.

It’s coffee time now, and soon the children will come, dressed in freshly ironed white blouses and navy blue pants or pleated skirts. They will be clean, with nappy hair cut short or skinned tightly back and gathered in little puffs or braids.
They carry plastic bags with homework laboriously done with the assistance of
their mothers and perhaps a treasure for Show and Tell.

God the Fourth emerges on his round of wanderings, singing
and chanting about the glories of his world. His song is tuneless and loud, proclaiming him to be God and bringing his message to the world. God the Fourth
(after the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, says Brenda, my native friend) will
spend the day in my neighborhood, sitting on the steps of “Berts for the Best”
Grocery Store, pausing in his singing only to ask white ladies like me for a dollar “for God”.

And it is his song that truly begins the morning in our tiny town, his deep chant that will follow us everywhere all the day long, reminding us that all’s right with the world.


One thought on “Waking Up in Tarpum Bay

  1. Hey Gertie

    I have followed your journey for some time now and can’t begin to tell you how happy I am for you now that you’ve made the trip back to your finished dream house on Eleuthera. Your stories along the way have been simply marvelous and inspiring.

    I hope you will be there this Spring when I return to Eleuthera. I would love to meet you and see your new digs.

    Best Wishes & Be Well
    Perry Joseph

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