When living on an island, the weather is always a relevant topic. It’s not just another conversation starter you learn to cope with or a topic to endure with the worst in-laws when you’re forced to be in the same room with them.
Permit me to explain: the weather is a way of life for people on my island, Jamaica.
“How’s the weather? It’s sunny!” was a song I sang when I greeted and taught my Spanish ESL students in Grade One. Mind you, I didn’t truly understand the four seasons until I watched movies on cable television. In fact, if Jamaicans are not attending school and hearing others talk about grades for fall or winter quarters, they won’t note a current season unless they’re planning to travel off the island. That’s because in Jamaica, it feels warm all year.
While it is basically summer-like weather all year long, during the actual summer months, the heat can get intense. I believe the heat affects Jamaican families, even to the point where there is a “hot head” in every household, so don’t you dare step on anyone’s toe. As soon as the sun comes out, they have a lot of heat and burden beating their heads as they make their bread, so it’s best to be kind.
Although the island is surrounded by sea, beautiful rivers, and falls, islanders in the rural areas have water problems at different times of the year due to the National Water Commission (NWC). Apparently, individuals have not yet gotten around to storing their own water in the event that NWC fails. Mind you, it is a very artistic and liberating sight to see some people in the country taking pride in bathing butt-naked outdoors and washing clothes in the rivers, just like their forefathers did.
In the hilly parts of the island, people only need to worry about washing early in the morning because rain is sure in the afternoon. Rain is also a certainty if a major hurricane hits the island. On this note, hurricane season could be a second season that stems from the warm water in the Caribbean seas around summertime.
Consequently, if it so happens that no major hurricane hits the island, church goers lift up praises to the heavens to indicate how blessed they are to have been spared because of fasting and prayer; that is, unlike some other country or island in the region who can barely keep their heads up out of floods from hurricane waters; this is believed to be God’s punishment through the hurricane, which washes out evil.
Clear blue skies and sunny weather represent happiness and boosts one’s mood significantly. Jamaica, land of wood and water, celebrates its one true season – summer. It’s no wonder most North Americans avoid the chills of their winter to take advantage of our endless sun, sea, and sand.