Bill had the odd day off yesterday and in the morning we sat at an outdoor café amongst pretty purple, pink and yellow chattel houses to talk and plan what we might do with the day. It was unusually dark and cloudy and just before each rainsquall the wind would pick up and blow through the courtyard, which made the flowering bushes nearby dance with color. A local woman on her way to work in one of the neighboring businesses ran into the café during one of these rains clutching her arms and complained about the cold to the girl behind the counter. Cold? I had just been reveling in the rare morning of cooler than normal but perhaps when the range of temperatures you are used to is so small, every degree of change is more deeply felt. The rains usually come and go quickly here but the dark clouds seemed intent on lingering this day. Because of this I suggested we run home and grab our ipads and make it a café hopping reading/writing day but Bill had the idea that we leave them behind and go for a drive to the East coast of the island, the Atlantic side, which is beautiful, rugged and wild. Typically we have at least an i-phone between us with which to take pictures if nothing else but as we had left the house early initially just to grab a coffee found myself unencumbered by any electronic device for the first time in longer than it’s possible to remember. There are many beautiful vistas on the drive cross island not to mention a rum distillery in an old abbey, a picturesque windmill, brightly painted rum shops and incredible rock formations along the shoreline in Bathsheba, all of which would have kept the phone camera in my hand rather than allowing me to experience the sights as they occurred had it not been left behind.
In Bathsheba we stopped at The Atlantis Hotel (www.atlantishotelbarbados.com), whose main dining area sits right above the rocky coastline with constant cooling breezes and the mesmerizing sound and vibration of crashing surf. With all of the senses so gratified we lingered at lunch for over 2 hours and were still so reluctant to leave we decided to stay the night. The clouds at sunset took fascinating shapes, some darkened silhouettes and others tinged by the fuchsia and tangerine light of the setting sun on the other side of the island.
Surprisingly, window screens are not widely used here in the islands but the two large windows in our hotel bedroom were fitted with screens, which enabled us to sleep listening to the glorious sound of the rolling waves. Normally our phones would be at the bedside and time checked periodically in the night with bleary eyes squinting against the brightness of the opening screen but we had neither phones nor clock in this bedroom. We awakened just before sunrise, excited to check the windows for first light hitting seafoam. As the overnight stay had been unexpected and Bill needed to be at work early, we set out soon after to go back home. The sunrise was glorious, magnificent beams of light refracted through clouds of various color and once again some regret sets in that none of it had been captured until I’m struck by how rich and fully lived and in-the-moment the past day had been without access to all that has become seemingly indispensible in our daily life. It isn’t easy to do, but if you get a chance, forget the phone for a day, leave the internet behind with all of the unending distraction that divides your attention from where you are and more importantly, who you are with. Your eyes take pictures too, and through their lens they are more warmly remembered…