Wednesday, June 6, 2012

... a yah so nice ...

... it wasn't too long ago that topflight reggae family Morgan Heritage had a massive hit song which answered a Norwegian visitor's legitimate query as to why so many Jamaicans seem to favor the facial expression known as "screwface" ... as is true of many a straightforward question, answers can be inconclusive, even contradictory ... such is the discrepant nature of this remarkable place, dubbed Xaymaca (Land of Wood and Water) by the original Arawak inhabitants ...

... after indicating specific harsh realities of life in contemporary Jamaica comes the song's chorus, a response in the form of a question, "... do you see anything fi smile 'bout?" ... in truth, centuries of colonial and post-colonial forces have shaped this nation like penknife-whittled wood ... natural habitats are now compromised by humans, as elsewhere, and survivalism is honed to correlate to the landscape, both geographical and cultural ...

... yet, visceral beauty remains a defining feature of the island ...

... that beauty is binding energy for Jamaicans everywhere ...

... from personal observation, you certainly can take the man out of Jamaica but you can't take the Jamaica out of the man ... this is because the zeitgeist we exhibit today actually melds that which some feel we've lost, namely, old-world traditions forged from empire, and combines them with the inevitable exuberance of the unleashed ... the social result isn't monolithic but is, at least partially, painted red, gold and green ... abundant soil, above and below, subtly lavender Lignum Vitae blossoms and flamboyant Poinciana complement a fulsome assortment of fruiting flora ...

... don't get me going on the fruiting flora! ... another day ...

... with due respect to the Morgans, and that cleverly crafted landmark tune, brother Bob Marley's Positive Vibration and Smile Jamaica are my prescribed pick-me-ups for the people in this dispensation of time (as Peter Tosh would say), since 2012 provides a perfect storm for navel-gazing ... if we can hold onto anything learned since Independence, it's that there is always something to smile 'bout ... if your heart can see ...

"picking up, are you picking up now?" - Bob Marley

JAMAICAN GLOSSARY
"a yah so nice" - literally, "here is nice"
(handle with care, may also refer to erogenous zones)
"screwface" - facial expression of displeasure/skepticism
(may be shortened to "screw"- not commonly sexual, but hey ...)
Lignum Vitae - a rock-hard tree
(the blossoms are Jamaica's National Flower)
Poinciana - charmingly known as Flamboyant in Antigua
zeitgeist - not Jamaican, but cool anyway
(smile)

2 comments :

  1. Picking up, Bredrin. Picking up.

    One Heart,
    Geoffrey

    ReplyDelete
  2. nice picture :-)

    ReplyDelete

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