Windy Cliff Coda
The second morning on the island I woke before anyone else was up. I put on my bathing suit and headed out the door to the smell of sea salt air blowing across the canal. A yellowbird darted among the hibiscus in the front of the house. The road to Rum Point was quiet and in five minutes I was at the beach. A group of young men were playing volleyball at the far end of the beach and a worker was sweeping the sand beneath the outdoor café tables. I had the beach to myself. The resident Sylvester cat was stalking a flock of sandpipers and a brown pelican sat motionless on the stone pier. The water was dark blue, not yet turquoise as the sun was still low on the eastern horizon. I stood knee deep for a while listening to the sounds of the water lapping gently up against the beach.
Once in the water I swam and swam and swam, giving thanks for the healing and relaxation of the beloved Caribbean Sea. What a way to welcome in Christmas Day.
The fourth morning on the island I went for my solo early morning swim at Rum Point where I had the idea that we should go to breakfast at the café in North Side and then pay a visit to Windy Cliff.
Windy Cliff was a special property lovingly nurtured into an exotic wild refuge for birds and plants that used to belong to my relatives.
The property sits on the black, jagged ironshore rock that dominates the north side of Grand Cayman Island. There is no grass but just a jungle of fig trees, red peeling bark trees and orchids growing out of pots. It is a haven for a cacophony of wild parrots and other birds. The house is accessed by way of a wooden foot path built over the ironshore. You can’t see the house from the road and when you get about 100 feet up the path an alarm goes off alerting the house that someone is approaching. The house is a two-storey wooden house nestled amongst the trees with a large deck in the front and back and a concrete room below for hurricane shelter. In the middle of the front deck, the bougainvillea has grown as high as a tree with masses of fuchsia, white and orange flowers spilling over on their bending branches. A couple of bird feeders are in a corner overlooked by a pair of doves who hang out nearby in a shrub. Resident yellowbirds and Cuban blackfinches were visiting and I spotted a tiny sleeping frog on a banana leaf below the deck. My aunt fed and tended to these birds like a mother hen. They came to her every morning when she filled the at least half dozen feeders around the property.
I reveled in being here again drinking in the breezes from the verandah, the loving cuddles of Henry the beloved dog. The birds. The heat. The remote majesty of its wildness.
I gathered up some bougainvillea that had fallen on the deck. My aunt, seeing me, and knowing what I was going to do, told me to cut some of the bougainvillea branches.
I went back down the path, crossed the road and entered the private beach which now had a swinging seat and round picnic table under the sea grape trees. I stumbled down onto the beach which was covered, littered completely with conch shells, broken coral and bleached white stones.
“Hello Mummy,” I said to the sea and the spirit of my mother whose ashes I sprinkled in this exact place 20 years ago.
“I brought you your favorite flowers.”
© Kathy Stanley