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  • Writer's pictureHummingbird Retreat

Week 35

Wildlife Wonder – Black Witch Moth

We keep the balcony lights on at night to keep the bats away but it attracts some amazing moths. This large Black witch moth was on my balcony wall and is a male because it was about 12 cm in width. The females are larger and can reach a wingspan of 24 cm and also the female has a light-coloured V shape across its wings. They eat tropical fruit and they particularly like bananas.

As the name suggests, they are associated with various superstitions. For example, in some Caribbean countries, they are seen as a sign of death or a sign of bad luck. In Mexico, they say that if one flies over your head, you will lose your hair!

Grenadian Gift- Sendall Tunnel

Grenada is full of hills and mountains and even in the capital, St Georges, there is a steep climb and descent if you are walking from the market to the harbour. However, there is an alternative route and that is through the Sendall Tunnel. This photo of the tunnel is from the Grenada National Trust showing when the tunnel was first built and a more recent photo. This tunnel is part of Grenada’s architectural history and is near some of St Georges older buildings such as the old library and museum.

The tunnel was built in 1894 and was designed for horse and carts and so it is quite narrow. It was named after Governor Walter Sendall and his wife, Lady Sendall, opened it in 1895. It took about 6 years of construction and it is just over 100 metres long. It is now used as a one-way road for cars as well as for pedestrians. However, if you decide to walk through it just be mindful that it can be quite tight because vehicles pass you and there are times that the exhaust fumes are also quite bad. However, it is a quick shortcut to avoid the steeper climb.

Reflections from the Retreat

In a blog that I wrote in May, I described the cedar trees which were a lovely sight of white blossom and reminded me of an English Spring. Strangely over the last few weeks, these trees have blossomed again and it is quite strange to see them covered in white flowers. As Summer moves into Autumn back in the UK, it can feel quite disorientating to look out to sunshine and blossoming trees and to remind myself that we’re now in October. I am learning to adapt to new seasons and it is as if Summer has jumped into Spring here and has missed out Autumn and Winter. To those of you who love the sun, that probably sounds very appealing and it is lovely to be able to swim in the sea all year round. But I love the Autumn colours of the British trees and the fresh, crisp coolness of a sunny, clear blue Autumn sky. There is also the rich symbolism of the dying and rebirth of nature from Autumn, through Winter and the new life of Spring that is missing here. I feel that we have gone from Summer straight back into Spring again.

I am also mindful of the seasons in terms of food here. When I first arrived there were lettuces and tomatoes and then after a while their seasons ended and the only salad available was cucumber. When I first came there were no mangoes to buy and then there was an abundance and now that season has come to an end. At the moment I have an abundance of limes on the tree in the garden and these, along with sugar apples are the only fruits available at many of the local fruit stalls.

I have been spoilt in the UK where I would go into a supermarket with my shopping list and expect to find lettuce, tomatoes and cucumber all available at the same time as well as any fruit I could think of. Here the fruit is fresh off the tree but not continually available and so I am learning to eat what is in season and appreciate them while they are here. The bananas and gospos (a bitter orange) are an exception to this. When I pick them off my trees, they start producing the next supply and so they don’t seem to have a season to bear fruit- they just need time to replenish their stock.

I am also aware of different seasons in terms of my life here. My friends Clive and Karen have now returned to the UK and I am adjusting to a season of being back on my own after enjoying having the company of others. After a busy few weeks of decorating and working on the house together, I am focusing more on my online work in the UK and back to cataloguing my books for the newly built bookshelves.

So as I look out to the sea which ebbs and flows in an ongoing rhythm, I reflect on the balance of my own rhythm of times of socialising and physical work and then times of quiet and more computer-based work. The balance feels a healthy rhythm and like the trees bearing fruit in certain seasons it feels important for my wellbeing to live in tune with these rhythms.

Perhaps this also offers a challenge to those of us who can buy any food at any time of year due to food being imported from around the world. Perhaps we need to consider living more in tune with nature’s rhythms and to only eat what is in season naturally for the wellbeing of the planet. So despite being surrounded by fruit trees where I live, I can no longer expect mangos or tomatoes out of season, even in the supermarket and perhaps that is how it should be.

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