To be able to act with innocence or speak with the
tongue of child is a taste of freedom.
My visits to Jamaica have never lacked the expected
tropical flavor, fun, finds or the irresistible cuh de (look there). In my excitement, when it comes to nature, I
unashamedly exercise the traits of a child in a candy store. I look, yearn, savor, salivate, touch, poke,
grab, pocket and play with its pieces. Pieces such as old man’s beard, old
man’s pipe, poor man’s orchid, cup and saucer, chinny pee pee, search mi heart,
single bible, duppy umbrella, and duppy soursop to name a few. Nature in its moment exudes discipline. For
example it has provided a lesson on how inconspicuous a female should be. We see this in the plant called “shame old
lady”. It folds up when touched, hiding
itself. By the same token nature can be
vulgar as seen in the flower which depicts the female sexual organ. It is
called pum-pum flower and draws a lot of attention.
As I rummage through nature, I find that in the category
of creepy crawlies, a slug will bring out the naughty child in me. As soon as I see one, I quickly pour salt on
it and watch it melt. As for the snail, I
will kick its shell or turn it around with a stick to see what is going on
inside and then spit on it. Should a bee
aim at me I would scream “green bush” for it to go away. At the sight of a scorpion, I begin reciting
the Lord’s Prayer hoping that it will freeze in place until I find an object to
kill it. The duppy riding horse is an
interesting insect to scrutinize. It stands on long thin legs so thin that they
almost appear invisible as its riders, duppies (ghosts).
Besides the wanton attacks and cock-and-bull stories
on nature, nothing can compare to the solace and interests that are found
within the bowels of nature itself. I
recall, as a child, that my friends and I believed that the foods eaten by the
birds were also good for human consumption. As a result, we feasted without any
concerns or cares. We did not worry
about being poisoned. Perhaps, it would
be sufficient to say we had strong reassurance because it is said that God
takes care of babies and fools.
On the other hand, perhaps we were rebels of the bush within
our own rights like our fore parents.
They used plants for medicinal purposes and ate foods, showing very
little interest in whether or not they had scientific names or scientific proof
to confirm benefits. Why dampen the
glory in the cultural lexicon or nourishment. The scientific names are low
energy. They do not spark the mind as readily as their layman names which are
more direct, descriptive and sweet sounding.
The legacy is rich. Such names should remain alongside their scientific
names, not ignored nor removed to vex the spirits of our fore parents who
worked their ingenuity.
Nature is incredible. My childhood hamlet is Maidstone in
the parish of Manchester and the account given is that it obtained its name from
its appearance: stony, with mountains that resemble maidens’ breasts. Like many other places in Jamaica, the
village is dubbed “bush” because of its geographical location. This is a good attribute to its relevance as it
continues to provide me with its delicate and hard core beams of nature;
mystical yet a humbling experience. The opportunity to embrace and enjoy the
maximum benefits of the village was immensely underestimated. A place where bright lights reigned had
seemed more appealing and appropriate than rural living which harbored the ever
blooming trees and plants, rowdy birds singing here and there and noisy
nocturnal creatures. A clear vindication
for the misunderstanding would be the saying, “Cow nevah noh di use a him tail
until him lose it” (Do not take things for granted because you will miss them
when they are gone).
Come walk with me in the bush.
|Duppy Sour Soup|
|Nature's Brush for Pedicure|
|Old Man's Beard|
|Pum Pum Flower|
|Relaxing in the River|
|Walking in the Bush|
|Chinny Pee Pee|
bush has a story to share.
Copyright © 2014
Gracie, you should put all this in a book just very interesting, informative and brings back the good memories of our childhoodReplyDelete
I will one day Judy. Thanks!Delete
Great blog, very informativeReplyDelete
Is nat Pum Pum flower. Is "ole ooman pum-pum".ReplyDelete
Wish I knew the official name. The Chinee peepee is Spathodia.
I enjoyed viewing this.
This brings back such great memories.ReplyDelete
The scientific name for the pum pum flower is Clitoria ternateaReplyDelete
My childhood days were fun growing up in the cockpit country. We would pick all these 'bushes' and have session with my grandmother who was versed on all these 'bushes". I got spanking for using the word pum pum in a vulgar way. Grace your knowledge is needed for the young people. I hope a book is in the making. Walk good.ReplyDelete
Great piece, Grace. Looking forward to reading the book.ReplyDelete