Artist Marjolein Bastin
Subject Location Cayman Islands
We are returning to the Cayman Islands. I can’t begin to describe the terrible devastation caused by hurricane Ivan. We are very lucky our house is still standing. Sand and coral are piled three feet high against the windows. But our garden, our wonderful tropical garden, full of birds and butterflies, is gone…empty, destroyed by the huge, high waves.
Our little friend “Birdy,” a palm warbler, is still here!!!
And there we are: the two of us at our garden table. I can’t help it – I have to cry. From this spot on the terrace we once overlooked the palm trees, the mangrove bushes, the bougainvilleas. There was always shade. There used to be herons in the mangroves as well as egrets, white crowned herons, and small green herons. The mangrove-pigeons bred there, and the kingfishers migrated there. The ground was once so full of life: hermit crabs everywhere, butterflies, lizards, and tree frogs. Gone. Gone; everything is bare and dead. There is no longer a habitat for them. Just bare rock remains.
When the fiery-red ball sun sinks into the ocean, we take another walk along the beach. Everything has been washed ashore. Between the big pieces of coral rock, we discover shards of the dinnerware scattered in that other terrible hurricane of 1932. History is written in the sand.