So, as I was driving along the coast of South Sound the other day, I was at a loss as to why the usual jaunt along what was one of the most beautiful pieces of coastal scenery on Grand Cayman did not provide me with my usual sense of peace and tranquility. As I snapped out of my revere, turned down my tunes and pulled over to the side of the road, I realized that South Sound as I once knew and loved was no more, and once again, the rabid environmentalist dwelling deep within the recesses of my heart let out an undignified roar for the loss of what was. (Well, sorta, though this sounds more dramatic).
My heart bleeds for the South Sound of old, fraught with the elegant statuesque weeping willows that engulfed the road and invariably hid the skyline from a pedestrian’s view, assisting with the receipt of cool onshore winds, as the needles of the willows made their eerie music whilst swaying in the wind. The flora and fauna of South Sound were abundant and raw, and I can always remember my brothers and I trudging through the boggy surf to go fishing and to get up to all kinds of childhood mischief. I can’t remember when this all changed.
As a child, I can remember driving through South Sound with my Granddad, knowing that he would mischievously turn off the car lights as we were engulfed in total darkness, unable to see our hands in front of our faces. I would squeal in abject terror and plead with him to turn the lights back on. Two minutes later, I would beg him to do it again. This was our game, and regardless of our destination, my Granddad would always make it a point to drive through South Sound, even if he had to go miles out of the way. I can’t remember when this all changed.
As a child, I can remember competing in road races that traversed through South Sound, running barefoot in the early mornings, at one with the winding road, counting trees as a distraction, hearing the wallowing surf breaking through the trees yet unable to see the beach from the road. I can’t remember when this all changed.
Today, I stare in resignation at the bulldozers that are lined up to further render the flora and fauna of South Sound, all in the name of progress and development. The South Sound as I knew it no longer exists. The weeping willows are gone, replaced by towering mansions competing for dominance along the coast, landscaped with imported palm trees strategically placed as a part of the ‘natural’ landscaping .
Today, property values along South Sound are sky high, and Mother Nature in her infinite wisdom, will further continue the developers’ work. The beach has receded after the passage of each tropical storm, and Hurricane Ivan has made it almost non-existent. Advantageous fishing spots are difficult to find without trespassing on private property, most of which are cordoned off by intricate fencing, keeping out the nappy haired people that look like me. Trees and shrubbery are almost non-existent, as the last of the weeping willows hang on pathetically in their solitude, with their roots stretching into the sea. Running through South Sound in the afternoons is a heat stroke induced nightmare, as the lack of any form of foliage provides no protection from the harsh rays of the sun, and the on-shore winds from the rolling surf offer no consolation from the vicious heat of the sun.
I weep for what once was.
On that note, I shall now exit.