As a more mature individual, appreciation is the word I use to describe how I feel about my homeland. Growing up, I can remember people saying to me and around me that one should appreciate what they have. Yes, as a kid, we know the definition of the word, we say we understand it, but to appreciate something is to be able to feel it.
Tourism is an experience they say. Well then I suppose I will always be a tourist when it comes to Dominica because I will experience nature every day that I have breath.
As I sit here writing this article, I am also chatting on msn with my good buddy, who resides in the United States of America. We’re discussing the seasons and all the various weather forecasts that come with them; pollen count, smog and humidity forecasts during spring and summer as well as the brutal cold that accompanies winter. What do we have to look forward to in Dominica? Rain and sun, wet and dry; only two seasons. This is the sweet simplicity of island life. I can appreciate not having to always be in air conditioning due to the excessive heat and humidity. I can appreciate not having to drive five hours to get to the beach to get away from the smog of the city. I can appreciate driving to the nearest river on this 290 sq mile island to bathe in a basin (pronounce bah-sen) to ‘cool out’.
We all know what it’s like to be yanked out of our beds early in the morning for something. My early morning self-inflicted yanks are to go hiking. With the mere act of waking up, I am greeted by the twittering of the birds on the outside and the crowing of the roosters, alerting me that morning has indeed arrived. As I step out of the house, the cool morning air is like a cup of coffee. It’s as if it almost forces you to open up your eyes and senses even more. Ah yes, my second cup of much needed coffee to brace me for my hike. Don’t you believe me? I dare you to try it!
Of all the awe striking things I have been able to appreciate during my monthly hikes is one of Dominica’s little talked about marvels – Morne Diablotin, 4747 feet of sheer wonder. It’s not that I haven’t been to The Boiling Lake, as I can assure you I was on all fours towards the end of my destination, the first time I made it past the Valley of Desolation.
I mean, how many people stop to look at a map and then look at the surrounding landscape and can actually see the correlation between the two. Well, I did when I climbed that mountain. If you ever thought that the outlines of a map could lie to you, then climb Diablotin, and tell me you did not see the curvature of Prince Rupert’s Bay and “The Cabrits, the headland of which is made up of the remains of a volcanic crater on the north-west coast of Dominica that protects Prince Rupert’s bay, the best anchorage on the island” (www.lennoxhonychurch.com). These are just two of the many wonders my nature isle has to offer.
I write this article not as an outsider looking in, but as a typical Dominican who is appreciating more and more what my Dominica has to offer. Whether you are taking in the sunset after a long 6 hour hike to the Boiling Lake or an 8 hour hike up Morne Diablotin, you’ll be happy to sit on your verandah sipping a Kubuli Beer, Dominica’s very own lager, and enjoy the rich sunset the west coast of the island has to offer.
There are things to do here, you just have to open your eyes. Dominica is but a canvas to the imagination.
I know, I am Dominica. What about you?
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