Back steps

Image by Yannis Papanastasopoulos from Unsplash

I’m in a mood tonight so I wrote this…

I really miss my back steps right now. Undoubtedly the most peaceful place in my childhood home for me. There was nothing particularly special about the steps. Typical concrete steps, Trinidadian in flavor but unpainted. They led to our backyard where stood three grafted coconut trees, a grafted mango tree, a sour orange tree and papaya tree, or as we would call it, a pawpaw tree. There also stood one very large chenet tree. Called guinep or Spanish lime in some other islands. For the uninformed a grafted tree grew much smaller than a regular tree of the same species. So essential picking a mango was simply a case of bending under the branches and standing under the tree with outstretched arms to reach the fruit. The coconut trees were a little taller but no where near the height that required much climbing skill to pick a bunch of coconuts.

Back there was my father’s garden, the results of his agricultural appreciation. If memory serves me right there were probably just four or five steps leading to the yard. A little drain on one side that followed the length of the driveway and down to the backyard. Created a mini waterfall when it rained heavily as water would run down the drain through the driveway and into the backyard and somewhere off into another drain that led to what we used to call the dry river. On the other side of the steps were the gas tanks, tall cylinders of gas that were used to fuel the stove inside the house. We had two of those tall tanks and beside that was the resting place for a black cutlass that I used to cut more coconut than most would ever drink in their lifetime.

I did my very best to mimic the skill of the coconut vendors that sold coconut around the savannah. Cutting coconut is a skill. An art form even. One that if not properly mastered could render you minus a few fingers. I mastered the art. I spent a lot of time back there. It was actually my place to sit and think. To disappear in plain sight. Away from the noise. It was peaceful. I have seen many a falling star from those steps. I have watched lizards crawl and dung beetles going about their business. Watched mangoes drop from the tree and roll to a random spot where a bird would sometimes pick at it. To me it was this simple place where I was able to completely be with my thoughts. I sat there some days for what seemed like hours, thinking I guess or maybe just simply day dreaming.

I really miss those steps right now…