Saturday, April 15, 2006

Good Friday, 2006. Looking Skyward

kites and poui trees

Kites flying above the poui trees on the western side of the Savannah, Good Friday

"Any idea where we might find a bobolee?"

"Yeah, they have one in La Seiva every year."

So we drive up into Maraval and to the little junction in La Seiva village by the rumshop. An old fella sitting there by the side of the road looking bored, but no sign of a bobolee.

We stop a young woman and ask her.

"Nah, they didn't do one this year, I don't know why."

(A bobolee is an effigy of Judas, made from old clothes, newspaper, straw, sacks, traditionally displayed in public on Good Friday and ritually beaten--symbolic punishment, roughly two thousand years after the fact, for the original Judas's betrayal of Christ. Over the years, Trinidadians have come to use the bobolee-beating as a form of political protest, with the effigy standing in for delinquent politicians, notorious criminals, despised phenomena. This year, it seems, completely spontaneously, people across the country refrained from beating their bobolees in order to protest the wave of violence and murder that is traumatising the country. Photo in the Guardian of a bobolee in McBean Village propped up against a fence with a sign reading "Please stop crime / by don't beating me / that's part of crime".)

So we drive back down to the Savannah, where the hot dry-season sky is filling with kites: impressive mad bulls; strange ring-shaped objects that seem to hang motionless in the breeze; a goldfish with fins rippling; a few simple brown-paper chickeechongs; and cheap plastic numbers like the rainbow-striped one Georgia bought week before last.

A few days ago the pink poui trees were covered with flowers, but the breeze has almost stripped them bare. Still, pink pouis always remind me of snow-cones with condensed milk, and it's a hot, dry afternoon, so after the kite manages to get lodged in a tree I stroll down to "George", the snow-cone man across from QRC.

The Savannah grass is brown and dry and prickly, but one fella is stretched out on his back, one hand behind his head, the other holding on to his kite-spool, looking up at the western sky and the clouds back-lit by the descending sun, dozens of kites darting and swooping but somehow never colliding, and, even higher, pairs of birds gliding towards the hills.

Could I behold those hands which span the Poles,
And tune all spheares at once, peirc'd with those holes?
Could I behold that endlesse height which is
Zenith to us, and to'our Antipodes,
Humbled below us?

pink poui

Pink poui tree in the Savannah, Good Friday

Say what:

No comments: