|A Writer Writes
by Katherine Jamieson (Guyana 199698)
FOR TWO YEARS I LIVED in a country with no seasons. We measured time by other means than falling leaves or snow, new buds on trees. There was a fresh breeze in the air, the ash of burned sugar cane floating in the window. There were times to go to work, times to stay home, an election, an eclipse; all of these differentiated the rising and setting of the same hot sun, and the appearance of a glowing moon and full set of stars. Rain would break the swelter like the fever of a child dissolves into sweat, and the whole city would breathe differently that day. Then the sun would come again and dry what had fallen, and could not last.
I think of it
I did not use this time either, I discovered it, and in so doing, reminded myself of what I had so easily and quickly forgotten in a well-measured life. More importantly, I learned to answer the Guyanese questions that had confused me initially. I could say that now is when is the frogs sing, and now is when the rain falls. Now is the howl of monkeys, the smell of curry stewing, the taste of mango pulled from a tree. And today, today is our understanding of being, our sense of ourselves as alive. It is without season or name, sun or rain, it is how we can live wherever we are and grow and grow and grow.
Katherine Jamieson was an Urban Youth Development Volunteer in the Peace Corps. She taught literacy, health, and life skills classes, and helped to coordinate programs at an all-girls vocational training center. She is currently working as a Research Associate with the Harlem Community Justice Center and training to be a yoga instructor. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.