the next day

The Day after Maria hit and for much of the week to come I never went further than a few feet from my little dry space – but I saw many unforgettable things …..

THE FIRST EARLY MORNING

….. my house was a wading pool with inches of light brown water on the floor in every room but the kitchen in some places deeper than others. Furniture made of cheap pressed wood was swelling and disintegrating.

….. a twisted bent piece of galvanized roofing that was twice my height in length, imbedded firmly in the the cement wall just a foot from my front door causing me to climb over it to get out.

….. my 80 + year old landlord in his bare feet climbing over the piles of twisted bent galvanize roofing intertwined with huge tree branches and household goods trying to get to his place.

….. that without me knowing it my landlord and his wife had gone outside in the eye of the storm after their roof blew off and the next door neighbours had braved the storm to bring them to safety at their place across the street.

…… roosters that had survived outside without a coop lining up on the wall outside my window; homeless; their feathers wet and bedraggled; for once fairly quiet; making low sounds to each other.

….. a hummingbird whose green and purple feathers were iridescent hovering inside my apartment at the window for a long time before darting outside to the dramatically changed world that existed.

….. a tree that just last year grew in the backyard close to the house covered in juicy mangos that I could reach while standing on my balcony was lying on my landlords bed as if sleeping there.

TORRENTIAL RAINS – harder than I have ever seen.

….. a brand new brown waterfall tumbling down the hillside; across the road and spurting out feet before falling onto the ground in the small valley below.

….. rain pouring through the roof of every room in my landlords 4 bedroom house until there was inches of water on the floor.

….. more and more brown curved cracks forming in my ceiling creating a vein and artery like pattern everywhere but a small place in the kitchen.

….. rusty dirty brown water falling from from my ceiling in every room  until all exposed furniture; clothing; documents; books; electrical equipment were sodden with it.

….. the dryness of the few things I was able to protect in plastic bins

 

SPLASHES OF INTENSE SUNLIGHT

….. brightly colored sodden clothing and bedding hanging on downed lines and tree branches as far as the eye could see.

….. mattresses perched on the back of cars in every drive way or leaning against a sunny wall on the balcony.

….. gangs of neighbours coming together on the road with cutlasses and cars to clear the road.

….. families rushing outside to clear debris and temporarily repair what they could

 

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Just a mattress between me and Maria

On October 18 just 3 days after my 63 birthday I went to bed knowing a hurricane was coming; it already had a name – Maria.

This was not something new to me; I listened to the news and saw it was a category 3 – I had dealt with a hurricane like that before. Over the years I had absorbed the Disaster Preparedness that the Dominican Government tirelessly distributed and I followed it much as I could. I had food put away for a few weeks and I had a barrel of water plus tons of more water stored in various containers.

I had enough quality candles to light many nights and I had batteries and flashlights ready. I was in a basement apartment so I never bagged my essential stuff as I never even considered I could have water damage. I never protected my computer or other business equipment either.

Outside as I brought in my plants so they would not become projectiles I had to let go as I am just a tenant.  I could not change the fact that my landlord had huge trees some of them very old growing very close to the house and there was garbage everywhere; I knew the chicken coop was just pieces of wood and galvanized hammered together and it would shatter at the slightest hint of true hurricane force winds. My Dominican landlord is just the sweetest man but as he has gotten older he has been less able to keep up.

During that day in my preparation for the hurricane I saw a book that a Canadian comedienne called Deborah Kimmett had wrote – the title was ‘That Which Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Funnier’. I know her as she is the sister of my brother-in-law – I had already read it – but the tittle really resonated with me this pre-hurricane day and I put it on the table in my living room to read again soon.

After everything I could move was put away – I ate; unplugged all electrical appliances; checked the hurricane’s progress online put both my phones in the living room/yoga room to charge and went to bed. While I was in bed watching a movie on the computer the electricity was turned off island wide and all went dark. I lit a candle in the kitchen – something I do not usually do but this was a weird night I also locked my bedroom door which I never do.

I woke to the most eerie sound; I had heard winds before but this was truly a ghostly evil sounding howl screeching around my windows. The other thing I felt was a popping in my ears – I think that was the air pressure changes. It took me a few seconds to really absorb what was happening – it felt to me like the walls were vibrating in and out and there was a lot of crashing sounds outside. I was hearing a loud smashing sound on my back door. I opened my bedroom door to peak out and all seemed fine. I closed and locked the bedroom door  then I pulled an old wheeled desk in front of it but the noise was so extreme I decided to take my lap top and get into my closet as I had heard you should do. My closet did not have a working door so I pulled 2 mattresses over the doorway and grabbed the cover of the outside bigger mattress. Just as I did that – smash – a piece of the chicken coop flew through my bedroom window and it felt like the mattress was being yanked hard out of my hands.

In rapid succession after the window broke; I heard a loud smash in my living room; then my brand new bedroom door with it’s brand new lock flew part way open pushing the desk out; the lock parts flying across the room. I was so scared by this point I felt nauseous. Thank goodness the desk got jammed against some plastic boxes and another heavier desk and the door could only open about 1/4 of the way.

I knew none of this – I just huddled in my closet holding on the mattresses for dear life. It seemed like Maria was purposely trying to take the mattress – my last shelter from the stuff flying around in the room – trying to pull it out of my hands.

Water slowly seeped into the closet until I had inches of water on the floor – I had no idea where it was coming from – I just kept piling sheets and blankets on the floor so I wasn’t resting in a pool of water. At some point I remember realizing my phones were in the living room – I let them go – no way was I going out into my hurricane filled living room after them!

There seemed to be an ease in the winds so I came out to see what was happening. I saw my solid back door had burst 3 locks and pieces of wood and solar water heaters were on my back balcony. I saw that my living room and everything in it was covered ceiling to floor with what looked like dirt and pieces of leaves. There was inches of dirty water on the entire living room/yoga room floor – the only area dry was part of the kitchen. I just could not believe it – 3 locks burst open like nothing; inches of water on the floor – I stood stunned for a few moments.

At some point I heard my landlord calling out and my neighbor so I thought they were safe. I heard a noise out front and went to look through the louvers on my door. It was a neighbor checking his car – the little I could see with a flashlight in the dark was mind blowing even then. Huge pieces of galvanized roofing bent and twisted into grotesque shapes and big branches everywhere.

Looking into my spare bedroom and bathroom I saw they were flooded with inches of water too – where was all the water coming from? I just closed the door to that!

I knew this was just the eye of the storm so the winds would be coming back. I pushed and shoved a big heavy plastic box of books in front of the back door and then piled other heavy stuff on top.

The back door started to pound on the boxes so I grabbed the phones which were miraculously intact but wet and covered in bits of leaf. As I turned to go back in my room I spotted the book I had put aside ‘That Which Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Funnier’ – the title inspired me and made me giggle at that desperate moment – so I took it with me even though it was damp and covered in debris.

Back in my room I blocked the bedroom door with the small desk again and then moved the large desk right behind it and crawled back into that wet closet just as the howling started anew. I ripped the rest of my clothes down from the hangers and placed them over the wet bedding to try to stay a little dry. It seemed like I spent hours more counting to stay calm and holding on the mattress cover for dear life. I can never for the rest of my life forget that howling and crashing of those hours.

It was still dark when the winds started to die down and I finally thought it was safe to let go of the mattress. My hands were seized in a sort of gripping shape for a while after I let go. I stayed in the closet and napped a bit just in case the hurricane returned and then got up to see what was what. Illuminating the damage with my flashlight I saw that book ‘That Which Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Funnier’ floating in the water. I giggled picked it up off the floor and left it to drip dry then started to move the furniture in front of the door to check out the house. The back door had opened partially again and inches of water lay everywhere except for a few feet of dry floor in the kitchen.

I was so tired I just moved a partially dry mattress to the dry spot and lay down for a nap till daylight. I got up and went right outside – I only got 2 or 3 feet and I met a 10 foot long piece of galvanize folded like paper into my entranceway. Climbing over it I went outside to see a Dominica that had dramatically changed over night.

Your mind cannot absorb all the changes – I think it shuts down a bit – stops processing – computer brain over load. very single direction you look the landscape is like it was bombed – and all those buildings you thought were a strong shelter to withdraw to in a storm were roofless or crumbling.

I look up to see my landlord in his bare feet climbing over the broken glass; galvanize roofing and downed trees to cross the street and see what happened to his house. We talked him into going back to the apartment he was sheltering in and waiting till the rains were done. Mr. Hector and Rita’s story is for another time!

It rained very hard The Day After Maria. I went back inside to make tea for Hector and Rita –  I started to feel water falling on me and looked up to see long jagged cracks in the ceiling where dirty water was literally raining down. I learned later that the roof of the building was gone.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Hurricanes_in_Dominica

 

 

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# Recovery Dominica

According to the PDNA, Hurricane Maria caused damages and losses that amounted to 226% of our entire national GDP.

When numbers get too large to imagine, there is a danger that they leave people numb.

To put this into perspective the enormous human disaster of the Indian Ocean tsunami while incomparable, with regards to the loss of human life wrought damage and losses of 90% of GDP on Ache province in Indonesia…the most badly hit area and 1% of Indonesia’s national GDP.

Hurricane Maria’s 226% of GDP damage and loss come just two years after Tropical Storm Erika, inflicted damage and losses of 90% of our national GDP. Erika came four years after Tropical Storm Ophelia that also wrought massive damage.” ~ Dr. Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit;  Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Dominica; UN Speech

Yoga 1 015Dominica is a mountainous forested volcanic island of 70,000 + people just 16 miles across at its widest point.

Everywhere you turn nature seems to have a new gift – steaming bubbling water flowing out of the ground; black sand beaches; birds singing; rainbows shining; food growing everywhere you look.

Many people are intensely drawn to the “Nature Isle” – the culture is friendly, vibrant and confident; the volcanic  environments stunning.

People travel here from all over the world – many leave after their first visit with a lifetime love of this island and her people. This happened to me so I understand it – I visited for a few weeks in 1981 and my love for the island never left me. I ended up marrying a Dominican farmer and have spent the last 20 years living here. I feel truly blessed to have had the opportunity to live in both Canada and Dominica.

Dominicans are a well traveled populace – almost everyone born here has traveled off island and experienced life in other countries – those who were born and raised in Dominica love it with an intensity that makes them choose this island as their home even though we have the lowest wages in the Caribbean.

On October 18 2017 we were hit with a category 5 hurricane in Dominica – I was there in a closet with only a mattress between me and Maria the next day when I came out everything looked so different my brain sort of shut down.

The weeks following Hurricane Maria were mind blowing; fearful; cathartic; heart warming; life altering. I found it interesting that my love of nature never waned and in fact it was like my thankfulness for natures gifts was magnified.

The iridescent hummingbird hovering in my apartment hours after the hurricane; bubbly river spa laundry days; the gathering under the light of the star studded night sky or the silvery rays of the full moon.

It is inspiring to the nth degree to see the myriad of ways people have raised funds for this teeny tiny island. When an entire country loses it’s entire telecommunications  infrastructure; 95% of buildings are damaged; 20% of all buildings destroyed; and 80% of all businesses are impacted they need help.

I have gathered a teeny tiny portion of the links to fund raising efforts beyond Red Cross and UN – each effort drawn from a personal love for the island. It is truly heart warming.

I plan to keep adding links but I know I will not come close to listing all the efforts being made out there

 

FUND RAISERS FROM OCCUPATIONAL GROUPS

Police in Tortola send supplies

St. Lucia Rugby Football Union contributes

FUND RAISERS FROM CLASSROOMS

Marketing Class in the US

FUND RAISERS FROM COMPANIES

Jamaican power companies raise funds for Dominica relief

Socan Employees Help Hurricane Maria Relief Effort Dominica

 

FUND RAISERS FROM NON PROFITS

The ANSA McAL team recently hit the ground running in coordinating care packages for the people of Dominica.

The Dominica Association, Rotary Club of Ottawa South and Rotary Club of Orléans are hosting a fundraiser on Saturday, Nov. 25.

Food and Supply Drive in New York

In England

The Apollo Youth Club in the UK

FUND RAISERS FOR SCHOOLS

FAS7STAR and CAPITA Finance will be using the Hennessy Artistry platform in Barbados to raise funds to provide educational assistance to the children in Dominica.

Kalinago Territory

Digicel committed to build seven schools, each will include one large classroom that will be able to double as a hurricane shelter, and 360 homes in one of the worst damaged areas on the island, the Kalinago territory, which is home to the only indigenous Carib population left in the Caribbean.

Scotts Head/Soufriere

Scott’s Head and Soufriere Schools have their own fund raising program – teachers are meeting in tents I believe – this will help recovery.

Wotten Waven

Caulihaut

FUND RAISERS FOR CALIBISHI

This fund raiser has a unique idea for supporting Calibishi Small Business

FUND RAISERS

 

Restoring Dominica As an international community of governments, community organizations, and citizens we WILL rebuild Dominica to the beautiful nature island it was always meant to be–lush mountainsides, houses painted with tropical island colours, welcoming shutters with warm faces just inside, creole music playing in the distance.  Together, we will work alongside the people of Dominica to restore their island home.

Some people like Simon whose house left island very quickly to galvanize funds to help his beloved villages in the south end of the island – he returned with relief before I left.

Kingston for Dominica has been gathering supplies and held 2 events – a Concert and a Dinner & A Show.

The Windward Islands Women’s Football Championship in support of Dominica’s cause is dedicating all proceeds generated from ticket sales to the island’s football association to assist with their speedy return to competitive football.

The Rotary, The Lions and Kiwanis Clubs of Saint Lucia have come together in a joint effort to raise funds to assist our fellow Dominicans in the rebuilding process.

The Dominica-American Relief & Development Association (DARDA) was organized as a way for Dominicans living in and around the New York area to help raise funds and provide aid to their homeland as the island attempted to recover and rebuild in the aftermath of Hurricane David. – Now they are raising funds for recovery from Maria.

A Trinidad organization Living Water Community is working on building houses perhaps hundreds. “Initially our focus will be on Dominica because not only were they the most devastated, they don’t have a ‘mother’ country whereas the others do. I think 30 percent of Dominicans lost their homes while much of the island’s housing infrastructure sustained varying degrees of damage.”

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Catching a bus ……. what scent is that?

Riding on a bus in the Caribbean in fact almost everywhere is an intimate experience with people you have never met before.

In Dominica and most of the Caribbean the buses are small with only 3 or 4 rows of 2 or 3 seats so the experience in rush hour can be very intimate :).

I got on a bus the other morning and I could hear passengers behind me talking.

1st person: sniff; sniff;  Smell that? Something like Benadine and some kind of sweet scent ……. maybe a flower.

2nd person: sniff; sniff; yeah I love that sweet scent – it is real nice; can’t give it a name.

3rd person: sniff; sniff; that is not Benadine; but I know that smell …… it reminds me of a hospital.

At this point I turn around and smile – carbolic soap and ylang ylang essential oil. We all connect for a split second – laugh – and then go back into our own worlds.

 

 

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Slow and Steady CAN Win the Race!

The Tortoise and The Hare

letter t

There once was a speedy hare who bragged about how fast he could run. Tired of hearing him boast, Slow and Steady, the tortoise, challenged him to a race. All the animals in the forest gathered to watch.

Hare ran down the road for a while and then and paused to rest. He looked back at Slow and Steady and cried out, “How do you expect to win this race when you are walking along at your slow, slow pace?”

Hare stretched himself out alongside the road and fell asleep, thinking, “There is plenty of time to relax.”

Slow and Steady walked and walked. He never, ever stopped until he came to the finish line.

The animals who were watching cheered so loudly for Tortoise, they woke up Hare.

Hare stretched and yawned and began to run again, but it was too late. Tortoise was over the line.

After that, Hare always reminded himself, “Don’t brag about your lightning pace, for Slow and Steady won the race!”

https://www.storyarts.org/library/aesops/stories/tortoise.html

I love the story about the Hare and the Tortoise; – written over a thousand years ago in Greece this fable has taught children and adults to slow down and be in the moment for 1000’s of years.

 

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In Recognition of Nurses

I spent 10 years rushing to the Roseau or Marigot Hospital with my husband.

We would arrive by ambulance at the hospital after a seizure at any time of the day or night – often dishevled and confused.

Over and over again I was blown away by the kindness and caring of the nurses we came into contact with.

He had a form of Alzheimers so his behavior at the times he was hospitalized was often bizarre and sometimes violent (definitely not normal for him) yet we repeatedly experienced understanding and competent professional behavior.

I saw a nurse so aware and quick to react she caught a patient through the bars of the emergency room registration window to prevent her from falling to the ground.

I saw nurses working really really hard often when everyone else is in bed for very low wages with very little resources still take the time to stop and give a smile or comment to their patients.

I saw nurses deal with messes only a loved one should have to deal with without batting an eye and without embarrassing the person in their care.

I saw busy nurses with so many patients in the ward the beds were lined up down the center isle stop to get a cool glass of water for one of their wards who could not help themselves.

One of my strongest memories personally was the night Hillborn had gone home without me but with my purse. It was a mistake because he was confused after his seizure. When the nurses realized what had happened and that he had taken my money one of the night nurses went to her own purse and took ourt $5 to give me eto get home. I never saw her again that I knew but I will never forget that kindness in such stressfull terrible times acts of kindness can help you get through those intense moments

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Just to see if it flows – Remembrance Farms

Over the last month a good friend was here and he was kind enough to take me out all over the island whenever he rented a car.

I rarely get to do this so I had a long list of activities to do and places to see.

One place I wanted to visit was Remembrance Farms way over on the Rosalie Side.

My friends had built a clay house on some remote family land there and I wanted to see what they had done. Plus they had left a package for me years before when they visited and it was a chance for me to pick it up.

When almost there I realized I forgot to bring the phone number for the young man who would take us there but we decided to try to find it anyway ……. just to see if it flowed.

We found out where the road was from a friend we visited in Grand Fond so off we went to try to find this house built from the very earth it stood on ….. just to see if it flowed.

We gave a lady who was returning home from church a ride – she lived right near where we were going – then we turned onto the road to find the farm ….. just to see if it flowed.

We climbed the hill stopping to check we were heading in the right direction a few times and were told to just keep going up so we did ….. just to see if it flowed.

The road turned into 2 dirt ruts and took a sharp left just by a Rasta man – we passed him and then decided to back up to ask the Rasta the way ….. just to see if it flowed.

It happened to be that was the very Rasta we needed to see and we had met him at the exact moment he reached the corner (later in the day than he usually goes up on the first day in weeks he had had time to visit the house) ….. how life can flow!

We walked in as if we were all old friends as he told us the history of the road which led to the farm and the repairs they had done.

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We paused to wait out the rain on the way in.

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Got to have a private concert while we were sheltering in a farmer’s shed. Then we continued on – sadly through fields and fields of land that had been treated with herbicide even in this remote place.

The first view of the house as you arrive – is of a wide welcoming wrap around balcony. It is still under construction and there is much work to do yet but when you walk in the door you can feel the earth centering vibes.

It was so nice to hear the story of the house – from the truck loads of gravel as foundation to the unique way they figured out to macerate the coconut fiber for the earth mixture to the multiple ways they secured the house to the ground and the roof – our guide was knowledgeable and enthusiastic.

This earthbag structure has in its first few years withstood the vibrations of earthquakes and the waters of tropical storm Erica with little damage.

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We enjoyed some delicious organic guavas after the tour and after hugs all around we decided to take a group photo for Ursula and Bless to enjoy.

What a wonderful adventure we would have missed if we had not tried even though I had not brought the number ….. just to see if it flowed!

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Dominica Dementia Association

It is an act of kindness to participate in a volunteer way to a NGO with a collective goal of bettering the world in some way.

When I saw a Dementia Association had started in Dominica I wanted to find out more. My research was really interesting.

On an International level a group of young people have created a world wide organization called World Young Leaders for Dementia – a network of passionate, young professionals working across disciplines and borders to develop innovative dementia solutions. WYLD emerged from a series of meetings following the 2013 G8 Dementia summit. Together, they developed a draft a set of proposals to present at WHO’s First Ministerial Conference on Global Action Against Dementia in March 2015. This process sparked a number of new research collaborations and creation of the WYLD network.

Last September The Dominica Dementia Foundation was started by an 18 year old Dominican girl whose motivation came from her grandfather who passed away in 2013 with Dementia and so she set out to see that Dementia is a healt14202650_10153995546431312_1179165817598255150_nh priority in Dominica.

From an article on the WYLD website:

A young initiative by a young (and impressive) woman – The Dominica Dementia Foundation

At WYLD we are constantly excited by the impact young people have on raising awareness about dementia in their society. Here we showcase a very new foundation headed up by 19 year-old Riana Patterson on the island of Dominica in the Carribean.

You can follow this organization on Facebook

The Dominica Dementia Foundation

They have regular meetings. The had one today November 27 at Fort Young and the next meeting will be January 7 2017. Contact the The Dominica Dementia Foundation for more information.

I think their idea of helping the children of families of Dementia is brilliant.

One of their goals is to assist family members who have Dementia and support the children involved. Since at this time the organization has quite a number of youth members they have decided they will assist the youth as we can.

You can donate or volunteer if you are

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Masters in IT Technologies and Farmer

 

I was catching a ride the other evening from Portsmouth to Roseau (for me this involves standing by the side of the road; looking in the direction of the vehicles heading in the direction I am going; reading a book or magazine while I wait); about 8 pm I was so thankful when I saw a car put on its blinker and pull over. I was off again on another angel driver adventure.

Angel drivers are people who enjoy looking for people to pick up and help them get to their destination. The drivers I have met are both male and female, young and old, and of many different races, religions and levels of income. As I live in Dominica the majority of the people I have caught a ride with are Dominicans.

I see it all the time – more than once a day as I travel Dominica – people look for people they know or in need so they can stop and pick them up to give them a ride. This is a double feat these days as with air conditioning and the darkers on the windows those on foot cannot see inside the vehicles as before. 🙂

This amazing young man and angel driver I met that evening – born in Dominica; mid 20’s – was inspiring when you think about the future of this island and the world. When asked what he did for a living he said “IT Technologist and Farmer”. That caught my attention right away; what an interesting blend of occupations.

He described his farm with the same love he described his incredibly intricate job keeping a major internet network functioning perfectly for an international company – his job is beyond my abilities to comprehend even though I am on computer a lot.

He was articulate, polite, kind, no talk of violence, just a pleasure to be around.

We reasoned about yoga; exercise; organic farming; computers; living in Dominica; why people chose to live here and the horrible effects on the brain of organophosphates in farming.

I went to bed that night feeling like everything is going to be ok; the future is in good hands.

 

 

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Angel Drivers – The pineal gland

I love learning new things through reasoning with others – I like to greet each person I come in contact with as someone to learn from. I dedicate this article to the angel driver who wanted to increase the function of his pineal gland.

For 10 years I travelled 1000’s of miles back and forth from work to Marigot as my beautiful husband went through the ravages of early onset dementia. Often I was on the road late as there was always a lot of work to do with Hillborn sick. I did not have a car so I had to catch a ride from someone travelling in my direction. I often had to return to the Roseau side the night before work as my classes started too early to get there by bus from our home in Rosehill.

One night I left so late it was scary and I ended up in the dark by Woodford Hill entrance catching a ride. As I was standing there I saw a big white truck pull up with two young men looking down at me.

“Mammee where you going so late!” they said. “I am trying to get to Checkhall; Massacre” I answered. “Well – get in. We have to pick up around a 1000 pounds of food first then we will be going right past your road. At that time of night with as little traffic as there is on the road I was so thankful for their offer.

I rode in the front between them and for the whole ride got to reason with them both in between stops. As we travelled from farmer to farmer – yes we did pick up around a 1000 pounds of yam and dasheen and other produce for the driver’s mother’s huckster business – we talked about politics; ecology; culture; yoga and meditation.

I was fascinated when the driver said that he had downloaded an app that taught meditation – he wanted to enhance the function of his pineal gland.

Those kind; polite and friendly young men drove me right to the bottom of my road.

I had never looked at meditation from the slant of its effects on the pineal gland. As soon as I got home I looked it up and found: the pineal gland is a small pine cone shaped endocrine gland about  5 to 8 millimeters long. In vertebrates, the main product of this gland is considered to be the hormone melatonin.

Melatonin is an interesting hormone and studies show meditation seems to have a positive affect on melatonin levels – it did not seem to matter what type of meditation technique.

According to an Australian medical paper – melatonin was first isolated in 1958 as a neuro-hormone mainly synthesized and secreted from the pineal gland. Since its discovery, further investigation has revealed that it is also produced by several other organs. It has been found in the gastrointestinal tract, brain, eye, lungs, skin, kidney, liver, thyroid, thymus, pancreas, immune system and reproductive system.

Normally melatonin levels begin to increase as it gets dark; remain high while it is dark and then lower as day dawns. During the hours of darkness even a little artificial light especially the blue light from computer and smart phone screens can dramatically alter melatonin levels and our health.

Scientists feel that in mammals, including humans, the pineal gland has lost direct photosensitivity as ‘lower vertebrates’ seem to have and instead responds to light via a multisynaptic pathway. It is believed the mammalian pineal gland also controls an internal calendar that regulates seasonal cycles in reproduction and other functions in photoperiodic species.

The existence of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and its successful treatment with light suggests that humans have retained at least some photoperiodic responsiveness.

When humans are given melatonin supplements it induces drowsiness or sleep – only if administered during the day or early evening when melatonin produced by the body is at a low level.

Melatonin administration also has mild hypothermic and hypotensive effects.

Recent studies seem to show an association between levels of  melatonin manufactured by the body and the onset of puberty, hypogonadism and/or infertility.

It is also recently proposed that melatonin is involved in immune function, with high levels promoting and low levels suppressing a number of immune system parameters.

Median Section of Human Brain Anatomical structure diagram infographic chart  with all parts cerebellum thalamus, hypothalamus lobes, central sulcus medulla oblongata pons pineal gland figure vector

 

Melatonin has been shown to be a powerful antioxidant and has anti-carcinogenetic properties as well.

From a psychological point of view there seems to be a relationship between abnormal daily melatonin profiles and a number of psychiatric and neurological disorders but no one knows why.

A few weeks ago I met that driver on the bus; he remembered me and called me “Miss Trudy! Do you remember me he said?” I looked at him and smiled and said “pineal gland!”

We laughed and I had a wonderful healing experience. I hope he did too.

Meeting a youth like that my mind says: “Don’t worry be happy – everything is going to be ok!”

 

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