THIS LAND IS MINE, THIS BRAVE AND ANCIENT LAND JAMAICA

HOME SWEET HOME

“Whatever the past has been, you have a spotless future.” 

I came across this quote today. I thought to myself. How appropriate that on Jamaica’s independence such  poignant quote  would be posted in rotation. I thought about the quote and i reflected on home, sweet home Jamaica. 

It has been 52 years since we were handed the keys and told …drive. Bustamante and Manley were the appointed drivers at the time.  Piling a nation of over 1.7 million at the time they took to the unpaved and rocky road and drove,  We fell in the potholes, had mechanical problems along the way,  but still we drove, still we rise. 

Along the road upheavals, celebrations, sadness, bewilderment, catastrophes, failures, success flogged and whipped our collective bodies , the nation crying out to the drivers to drive slower or faster as the outstretched branches of the trees of reality  that stood in the journey were hitting hard. But still we drove, still we rise.

Today August 6′ we have reached another milestone along independence road, stopping to refuel , putting air in our tires to continue our journey. The people pile out of the truck, some sitting under a tree just catching  their breath while other head to a nearby well that springs riches that our owners had left behind as a compensation for independence. Some are seen  washing the dirt from their bodies, some bundling their loads they carry on the journey, some eating a healthy grub, some thirsty waiting to get to the well just to taste, others preaching and singing , feeding their spiritual need, some dancing to music they carried along the way. The unscrupulous is also there, moving around the passengers pillaging and stealing giving those appointed protectors enough work to keep them from drinking water from the well.

The well of which we speak is too small to feed a hungry nation. The  crowd is thick, the noise level rises, there is commotion, but there is also merriment. The atmosphere is confusing, It is  chaotic. Honk honk, the driver is ready. No one is moving. Honk, honk, honk, honk. Lets go, all aboard. Some passengers are loading to go on the truck, others decide to stay as tensions created creates broken relationships. A few decide to take a different route and traverse the oceans , they refuse to go back on the truck. The road is too bumpy , the branches of reality serve a harsh sting and some of the passengers are offensive. They seek another land.

We are now on our way without a few but the  majority still on the truck. The journey is independence circle, the place where we are destined to go, it is to be our promised land. Bang bang, into the potholes we drive. Ah…… there is a smooth pavement now, the drive is a bit smoother but still potholes are ahead. Along the way the atmosphere has settled. We are looking ahead, the branches still hit our bodies but we learn to duck as we pass. Suddenly someone sings a tone of hope, the words hopeful and powerful. The voices grew louder and louder, the truck was transformed into a choir of believers  and the pilgrimage was like Moses who took a similar journey to the promised land and  never looked back. 

The people were singing, the pains of the journey felt easier to bear….the voices sang ……

” This land is mine, God gave this land to me

This brave and ancient land to me  

And when the morning sun

Reveals her hills and plains,

Then I see a land 

Where children can run free…..

So take my hand

And walk this land with me

And walk this lovely land with me

And though I’m just a man

When you are by my side

With the help of God

I know I can be strong…

The attention of the crowd grew stronger, the singing was now lustful and spiritual. The promised land suddenly seem reachable..they continued to sing., standing, holding hands, bearing all the hits of the outstretched branches. The future was spotless…whatever the past, it was spotless. And the crowd smiled and continued to sing louder as the driver drove the rocky road….

” So take my hand, And walk this land with me 

And walk this golden land with me ….

And though I’m just a man

When you are by my side

With the help of God

I know I can be strong

To make this land our home

If I must fight

I’ll fight to make this land our own

Until we die

This land is mine…….

(Exodus, Lyric by Pat Boone)

We may not live to see the promised land, but like Moses we move on , we plod on. This land is home,  Home Sweet Home. 

© Paul Tomlinson August 6, 2014

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