Down in Morant Bay, I found myself sitting on the bus waiting for it fill up before we begin our long climb back up the mountain. For once, luck was with me, and I managed to get a seat in the front. With my bags on the floor by my feet, my lap was empty, and as nature’s laws insist, if there is space, something will fill it.
“You can ‘old dis for me please? It’s nuh heavy.. verra light,” a woman says to me through the open window. In her hands is a cardboard box that clearly would not have fit on her lap in the crowded backseat of the bus. In Jamaica, it is common for people to help each other out on public transit. I’ve seen women get caught standing, and have to pass their babies to a fellow passenger privileged enough to get a seat.
Having a good day, and feeling generous, I smile and say of course! So she lifts up the box and passes it through the window and I settle it in my lap. Only then do I take a moment to look down and see what was inside. I was expecting fruit…
The ride to Cedar Valley takes an hour, and most of the path is broken up gravel or tiny rocks on a dirt road. Every time we went over a bump, the little chicks would bounce around, chirp mindlessly, and flap their itty-bitty wings. When the road was smooth, the chicks would settle down and close their eyes for a snooze, creating a sea of yellow fuzz, only to jump up again with each new bump.
It was by far the most entertaining bus ride I’ve yet to experience. City-raised, I’ve never been in such close contact with baby chickens. I couldn’t resist myself as I reached in and picked one up, letting it sit in my hand for a moment, feeling its weightlessness. I giggled like a child, and did my best not smile and AW! like some kind of dork the entire ride.
For just a moment, I felt another taste of that satisfaction I was looking for – the kind that hits you when you least expect it and life reminds you that it’s beautiful. I’ve always wondered what it would be like to hold a baby chicken, and Jamaica placed twenty-five of them in my lap! Had I made it to the buspark five minutes later, they would have been in someone else’s. It’s amazing how such a little thing can make me smile.
And gawk in silent admiration of their cuteness for an hour.