What I learned about life from the kiddie carnival competition.

Sunday morning, Port of Spain. The hotter than hot January sun was beating down through the living room window.   The green hills surrounding our apartment were throbbing with soca beats.  We felt it through the floors, walls, and  in our chests.  At least half of our household has been feeling a rather hefty dose of  homesickness creeping in lately, and we wanted to hunker down as though it were maybe, say,  a snowy day in Vermont.  Something familiar, please.


I tried to pretend it was a quiet gray morning,with  no sound but the muffles of snow and the occasional snow plow passing by.  We could have a quiet, do the crossword puzzle, sleep in, play with our toys on the couch  kind of Sunday.  We could all nurture each other, maybe even get served breakfast in bed.


Frankly, I just wasn’t in the mood for running around anywhere, especially anywhere I might feel out of place or feel different.


I wanted to stay on the dock today, thank you very much.  Settle into the safety of my quiet little resting hamster wheel.

I think  the reason we hamsters keep running on that darn hamster wheel so earnestly is simple.  It feels good.  The familiar predictability and the constancy of it all  makes us feel like we are doing something worthwhile.  Some look on with appreciation, while others look the other way.

I dream about diving off that proverbial dock some day.   Yet lately I find myself  barely dangling my toes in the water, just long enough to feel like I’ve tasted something new, but not long enough feel the shift that happens when you dive in and stay a while.  With my hands, I cling on to the dock with such might that my fingernails sink into the wooden surface.  Splinters be damned, I hold on.  I think about diving in, but picking up anchor fully is another kettle of fish.

I close the curtains and shut the window, to keep out the crazy hot sun and the relentlessly deafening beats.

A bit of  annoying sunshine keeps creeping in despite the closed curtains, and the earplugs are doing nothing to drown out the noise.  (Music, Junie reminds me).  I head over to the window to do a more thorough closing job, to keep my hamster wheel nice and dark and quiet, when I see a curious temptation dancing in front of the green mountains, like a curled finger, luring me in from the shore, off the wheel, into the unfamiliar. Even if only for a minute.


I decided to to check it out.  If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em?

Much to the dismay of Elias, I don my camel back, camera bag, and stick out like a sore thumb tell tale non-trini hat and way too practical shoes…


….and off we go,


to see what this party is all about.


What we saw at the kiddie carnival competition made me realize the importance of  lifting up and peeking behind the curtain of life,


whenever possible.


Even if you don’t jump in, you can always watch.


There are unexpected and


beautiful  birds to be seen,


when we decide to look.


Amazing, rare breeds of the sparkly variety.


There are kids there who are not afraid to strut their spectacular stuff,

DSC_0227 2

to put themselves right out there,


to let their little lights shine


even if it takes a little gumption




or a little help from their moms


and Dads.


They show up, in all their regalia,


a celebration of life itself


which comes in all sizes,




and colors.


They open their wings


to catch the light just so,

or sweetly bask in the gardens they sow.


In all their glitter

and pride,

they give us all a glimpse


of what can happen

when we stop running just long enough to open the curtain and show up.


Even if we are watching from the window.


6 thoughts on “What I learned about life from the kiddie carnival competition.

  1. Holy Smokes that’s incredible! Get Nicole one of those! And Elias, too, while you’re at it! I have just been transported. Trust me, you are missing nothing with this freezing rain ruining a brief experience of new snow. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Wow! Glad you let us look behind the curtain with you, Ellen. Another universe from Maine where dirty snow is melting behind the fog and cold weather coming on the weekend. Thanks for sharing!

  3. What an awesome surprise that must have been! Amazing costumes and great shots. There’s a blizzard going on here. Nice to see all that color. Love, Burchie

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