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Sunday Morning

October 9, 2011

Sunday morning.  I awake to find we have no water for a shower, so I do the best I can spongeing myself down with the little I have.  I decide I will set out for MacDonald to visit friends before going to church after lunch.  As has become habit I walk into the city, planning to catch a moto taxi when the spirit moves me.

Passing through the anthill that is downtown Saint-Marc, I head through the market, somewhat quieter today. Eventually I decide to forgo a moto taxi altogether and walk the distance to MacDonald.  On the way I take a break at a tiny boutique where I savour an ice-cold Coke, a rare find.  The usual fare is vaguely cool at best.

Reaching MacDonald I find my friends otherwise occupied and decide to walk along Baie Saint-Marc.  Again I wish I had brought my camera, but the walk was unplanned.  I edge along the path notched into the base of the tortured cliffs shaped as the island slowly collapses back into the sea from whence it rose.  Shrubbery laced with vines and agaves find footholds as they scale the vertical walls.

Massive chunks of coral eroded by tides and waves litter the shore, replete with the embedded fossilized remains of segmented sea creatures of another time.  I search for one worn smooth enough to make a comfortable seat.  The coral rubble is a mix of tans and yellows and pinks, some tinted green with algae.  A few brick reds and oranges provide contrast.  Grey crabs sidle stiffly over the rocks; my every movement sending them skittering for cover.

Doffing my backpack and removing my sandals, I dip my feet into the water, taking care to avoid the spiny sea urchins here in abundance.  The water is warmer than that in my shower.  The dirt from the street washes from my feet in murky clouds.  As it dissipates, schools of brightly coloured fish dance around my toes.  Mollusks slide over the wet stones.  Dragonflies dart and hover around me.  Butterflies float and flutter, chasing one another.  The only sound I hear is the gentle lapping of the waves.  A gentle sea breeze cools my face and dries my sweat-soaked shirt.

The sky is cloud-streaked; the sun struggles fruitlessly to burn through.  To the east beyond the mountains the clouds pile up, planning rain.  Beyond a freighter at anchor in the harbor in the distance Saint-Marc climbs its way up the mountains.  I watch a solitary fisherman haul in his in lines again and again without success.  Finally he weighs anchor and rows in search of better prospects.  Fishing differs little no matter where in the world.

Refreshed, I rise to make my way back.  The path smells of damp earth from last night’s rain.  I take note of the canary yellow and white splashes of delicate flowers; occasionally there are pinks and vivid purples.  Fishing net floats bob lazily on the ripples.  Small clutches of children enjoy the water, swimming and diving, oblivious to the fact that they may be honing the skills that may one day feed themselves and their families.

Suddenly I hear laughter and music from the top of the cliff, announcing that I have reached the edge of MacDonald.  A tumbledown shack fenced with cactus and palm fronds and garbage emerges.  Around the next bend a herd of quarrelsome goats greets me as they rummage through piles of garbage.

I stop for a cool drink and warm conversation at the home of friends and then we all find motos to head for church.


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