Is­land Muse Mem­ory, nos­tal­gia and cre­ativ­ity in the Ba­hamas

Mem­ory, nos­tal­gia and cre­ativ­ity con­verge in a wash of pink sand and blue skies. Anne O’Ha­gan re­vis­its the Ba­hamas

ZOOMER Magazine - - CONTENTS -

YOU MUST TRUST your part­ner,” says our spit­fire-quick South African yoga in­struc­tor, Ta­mara. This is how our “acro” – as in ac­ro­batic – yoga ses­sion starts. Lay­ing out mats on a lawn of spiky Caribbean grass, she has us on our backs in a flash, look­ing up at a Tif­fany blue sky. A marsh­mal­low cloud may float by, but who needs per­fect? With the breezi­est and briefest of demon­stra­tions, she talks us into a puz­zle ring of ap­pendages, a hu­man Turk’s knot. It wasn’t until af­ter I’d piked off my acro-part­ner’s back, sup­ported her aerial Su­per­man pose and var­i­ous other con­tor­tions that I got it. You have to be calm, not just strong, pre- cise in how you hold your­self and, yes, trust­ing.

It’s a dy­namic that works for us. We are sis­ters-in-law, close in age, bound by fam­ily as well as shared cre­ative pur­suits. Tak­ing a break for a few days last spring, we want to stretch and en­er­gize more than just our pale win­ter bod­ies; we’ve been talk­ing about writ­ing a book. We are read­ers, writ­ers, wordy girls, both of us en­gaged pro­fes­sion­ally and pas­sion­ately, on some level, with the de­vel­op­ment and cre­ation of nar­ra­tive. And as the prod­uct of ma­tri­archies, we are also fas­ci­nated by the fe­male char­ac­ters in our fam­i­lies who came be­fore. Who were these women of the 20th cen­tury who shaped us? What were their lives like? As much as we’ve learned from our own moth­ers, we have ques­tions and, of course, time is of the essence. While the con­cept might still be ab­stract – part memoir, part his­tory – our in­ten­tions are real, and where bet­ter to en­gage cre­atively than at a muchloved is­land re­treat in a gen­er­a­tionsold fam­ily house?

Tiny Har­bour Is­land lies a mile or so off the tip of North Eleuthera in the Ba­hamas. It’s just a short hop from Nas­sau but feels a world away. In the 1960s, my sis­ter-in-law’s in­trepid grand­par­ents bought prop­erty here. Three miles long with a beach the colour of Hi­malayan pink salt ground to a fine pow­der, its nar­row laneways and over­grown gar­dens are a riot of fuch­sia bougainvil­lea. Bri­land, as it’s called lo­cally, is a bit of magic. No airstrip, no golf

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