Today I began working on my journal page titled “Juxtaposition”. On my recent trip to Jamaica I was struck by a number of odd juxtapositions – those things that exist side by side, often uncomfortably. One of the more humorous examples of this was the side by side relationship of my world and the world of Bandit.
I was invited to stay with friends who have a villa in Jamaica. The villa sits on a rock cliff overlooking the ocean with a path that meanders down to a private beach. A covered porch with various seating areas runs along the length of the house. It was our outdoor living room. Sitting on the porch sofa we had views of the ocean framed by the boughs of sea cotton trees. A bench was strategically placed at the edge of the rocks, under the trees, for communing with nature. It was idyllic; it would have been perfect except for the presence of Bandit, the guard dog. The dog instilled terror in me.
Bandit wasn’t allowed in the house or on the porch, so the porch became my safety zone. I never stepped off the edge when Bandit was out and about (I actually rarely made it to the edge). My friends quickly realized that I wouldn’t venture out if Bandit wasn’t tied up and made sure he was when I went to the beach for long stretches of time.
Bandit honed in on me – he knew I was terrified of him and was just waiting for his chance to “get to know” me. I had reason to be a bit scared. Another guest had been nipped by him and another warned me about keeping my cool around the dog.
Every evening I thought: tomorrow I’ll be okay with the dog. But every morning when I made my first appearance on the porch with my coffee, Bandit was there, at the edge of the porch, as close as he dared, to greet me with ferocious barks. I lamely said something like, “Hey Bandit. It’s okay, let’s be friends.” But I made no move towards him and sat in the seat closest to the house.
Yet, at night, I was grateful for Bandit’s presence. I slept with the doors open onto the second floor deck, lulled to sleep by the sound of the waves crashing against the rocks, cooled by the constant breezes. I slept well knowing that I was protected – from what I’m not sure, but there is a reason most villas in Jamaica have gates and guard dogs.
The dog that gave me a sense of security at night, threatened my sense of security during the day! Maybe, if I go back next year, I can tame my terror and learn to peacefully coexist with the dog… Maybe I can step over the edge without thinking about it.