The Story of a Beach

Rokely Beach was a five-mile curve of sand white as table salt tracing the eastern coast of a small mountainous island of vehement green jungle and sugarcane. Far across the Mozambique channel rose the headlands of Madagascar, and in between lay reef and deep water in a million translations of blue. A few tall cumulus clouds stood overhead looking solid and sculpted, as if the scene were a tableau that would never change.

In November, at low tide, under a laserlike midday sun, the sea lay mirror-flat and the scorching beach boomed faintly with emptiness. I felt shipwrecked, with a postcatastrophic mixture of hope and dread, as if finding human footprints amid the tracery left by the tiny colorless crabs would be both a blessing and a terror.

Of course, even then I knew that the place was not at all deserted. Behind the screen of coconut palm, mango, sea pine, and kapok trees were red dirt tracks that led to the sugar mill, to the shrimp fishery, to a decaying port town that retained the lineaments of its French colonial past. Hidden just in back of the sand were villages where I was an object of curiosity: a foreign woman wandering the beach in a showy getup of Indian silk wrap and Chinese lace parasol.

I was there on honeymoon with my second husband, who was Italian and had sailed and dived in the Indian Ocean for years before we met. The disorienting fact of being newly married, in that place so remote from Europe or America, made all my impressions flat and conventionalized, like an exotic toile de Jouy: Paul and Virginie under a coconut palm, and perhaps a couple of cannibals peeping around a bush.

This was ironic, because I am African American, from a strong-minded Philadelphia family whose members had fought for civil rights and for whom any stereotype was anathema, especially one regarding the Great Mother Continent. Still there I was, parasol in hand, playing memsahib.

Give Me Your Hand

Rokely Beach was a five-mile curve of sand white as table salt tracing the eastern coast of a small mountainous island of vehement green jungle and sugarcane. Far across the Mozambique channel rose the headlands of Madagascar, and in between lay reef and deep water in a million translations of blue. A few tall cumulus clouds stood overhead looking solid and sculpted, as if the scene were a tableau that would never change.

In November, at low tide, under a laserlike midday sun, the sea lay mirror-flat and the scorching beach boomed faintly with emptiness. I felt shipwrecked, with a postcatastrophic mixture of hope and dread, as if finding human footprints amid the tracery left by the tiny colorless crabs would be both a blessing and a terror.

Of course, even then I knew that the place was not at all deserted. Behind the screen of coconut palm, mango, sea pine, and kapok trees were red dirt tracks that led to the sugar mill, to the shrimp fishery, to a decaying port town that retained the lineaments of its French colonial past. Hidden just in back of the sand were villages where I was an object of curiosity: a foreign woman wandering the beach in a showy getup of Indian silk wrap and Chinese lace parasol.

I was there on honeymoon with my second husband, who was Italian and had sailed and dived in the Indian Ocean for years before we met. The disorienting fact of being newly married, in that place so remote from Europe or America, made all my impressions flat and conventionalized, like an exotic toile de Jouy: Paul and Virginie under a coconut palm, and perhaps a couple of cannibals peeping around a bush.

This was ironic, because I am African American, from a strong-minded Philadelphia family whose members had fought for civil rights and for whom any stereotype was anathema, especially one regarding the Great Mother Continent. Still there I was, parasol in hand, playing memsahib.

Beautiful People

Rokely Beach was a five-mile curve of sand white as table salt tracing the eastern coast of a small mountainous island of vehement green jungle and sugarcane. Far across the Mozambique channel rose the headlands of Madagascar, and in between lay reef and deep water in a million translations of blue. A few tall cumulus clouds stood overhead looking solid and sculpted, as if the scene were a tableau that would never change.

In November, at low tide, under a laserlike midday sun, the sea lay mirror-flat and the scorching beach boomed faintly with emptiness. I felt shipwrecked, with a postcatastrophic mixture of hope and dread, as if finding human footprints amid the tracery left by the tiny colorless crabs would be both a blessing and a terror.

Of course, even then I knew that the place was not at all deserted. Behind the screen of coconut palm, mango, sea pine, and kapok trees were red dirt tracks that led to the sugar mill, to the shrimp fishery, to a decaying port town that retained the lineaments of its French colonial past. Hidden just in back of the sand were villages where I was an object of curiosity: a foreign woman wandering the beach in a showy getup of Indian silk wrap and Chinese lace parasol.

I was there on honeymoon with my second husband, who was Italian and had sailed and dived in the Indian Ocean for years before we met. The disorienting fact of being newly married, in that place so remote from Europe or America, made all my impressions flat and conventionalized, like an exotic toile de Jouy: Paul and Virginie under a coconut palm, and perhaps a couple of cannibals peeping around a bush.

This was ironic, because I am African American, from a strong-minded Philadelphia family whose members had fought for civil rights and for whom any stereotype was anathema, especially one regarding the Great Mother Continent. Still there I was, parasol in hand, playing memsahib.

Safe in Heaven Dead

Rokely Beach was a five-mile curve of sand white as table salt tracing the eastern coast of a small mountainous island of vehement green jungle and sugarcane. Far across the Mozambique channel rose the headlands of Madagascar, and in between lay reef and deep water in a million translations of blue. A few tall cumulus clouds stood overhead looking solid and sculpted, as if the scene were a tableau that would never change.

In November, at low tide, under a laserlike midday sun, the sea lay mirror-flat and the scorching beach boomed faintly with emptiness. I felt shipwrecked, with a postcatastrophic mixture of hope and dread, as if finding human footprints amid the tracery left by the tiny colorless crabs would be both a blessing and a terror.

Of course, even then I knew that the place was not at all deserted. Behind the screen of coconut palm, mango, sea pine, and kapok trees were red dirt tracks that led to the sugar mill, to the shrimp fishery, to a decaying port town that retained the lineaments of its French colonial past. Hidden just in back of the sand were villages where I was an object of curiosity: a foreign woman wandering the beach in a showy getup of Indian silk wrap and Chinese lace parasol.

I was there on honeymoon with my second husband, who was Italian and had sailed and dived in the Indian Ocean for years before we met. The disorienting fact of being newly married, in that place so remote from Europe or America, made all my impressions flat and conventionalized, like an exotic toile de Jouy: Paul and Virginie under a coconut palm, and perhaps a couple of cannibals peeping around a bush.

This was ironic, because I am African American, from a strong-minded Philadelphia family whose members had fought for civil rights and for whom any stereotype was anathema, especially one regarding the Great Mother Continent. Still there I was, parasol in hand, playing memsahib.

King Me

Rokely Beach was a five-mile curve of sand white as table salt tracing the eastern coast of a small mountainous island of vehement green jungle and sugarcane. Far across the Mozambique channel rose the headlands of Madagascar, and in between lay reef and deep water in a million translations of blue. A few tall cumulus clouds stood overhead looking solid and sculpted, as if the scene were a tableau that would never change.

In November, at low tide, under a laserlike midday sun, the sea lay mirror-flat and the scorching beach boomed faintly with emptiness. I felt shipwrecked, with a postcatastrophic mixture of hope and dread, as if finding human footprints amid the tracery left by the tiny colorless crabs would be both a blessing and a terror.

Of course, even then I knew that the place was not at all deserted. Behind the screen of coconut palm, mango, sea pine, and kapok trees were red dirt tracks that led to the sugar mill, to the shrimp fishery, to a decaying port town that retained the lineaments of its French colonial past. Hidden just in back of the sand were villages where I was an object of curiosity: a foreign woman wandering the beach in a showy getup of Indian silk wrap and Chinese lace parasol.

I was there on honeymoon with my second husband, who was Italian and had sailed and dived in the Indian Ocean for years before we met. The disorienting fact of being newly married, in that place so remote from Europe or America, made all my impressions flat and conventionalized, like an exotic toile de Jouy: Paul and Virginie under a coconut palm, and perhaps a couple of cannibals peeping around a bush.

This was ironic, because I am African American, from a strong-minded Philadelphia family whose members had fought for civil rights and for whom any stereotype was anathema, especially one regarding the Great Mother Continent. Still there I was, parasol in hand, playing memsahib.

Family Physics

Rokely Beach was a five-mile curve of sand white as table salt tracing the eastern coast of a small mountainous island of vehement green jungle and sugarcane. Far across the Mozambique channel rose the headlands of Madagascar, and in between lay reef and deep water in a million translations of blue. A few tall cumulus clouds stood overhead looking solid and sculpted, as if the scene were a tableau that would never change.

In November, at low tide, under a laserlike midday sun, the sea lay mirror-flat and the scorching beach boomed faintly with emptiness. I felt shipwrecked, with a postcatastrophic mixture of hope and dread, as if finding human footprints amid the tracery left by the tiny colorless crabs would be both a blessing and a terror.

Of course, even then I knew that the place was not at all deserted. Behind the screen of coconut palm, mango, sea pine, and kapok trees were red dirt tracks that led to the sugar mill, to the shrimp fishery, to a decaying port town that retained the lineaments of its French colonial past. Hidden just in back of the sand were villages where I was an object of curiosity: a foreign woman wandering the beach in a showy getup of Indian silk wrap and Chinese lace parasol.

I was there on honeymoon with my second husband, who was Italian and had sailed and dived in the Indian Ocean for years before we met. The disorienting fact of being newly married, in that place so remote from Europe or America, made all my impressions flat and conventionalized, like an exotic toile de Jouy: Paul and Virginie under a coconut palm, and perhaps a couple of cannibals peeping around a bush.

This was ironic, because I am African American, from a strong-minded Philadelphia family whose members had fought for civil rights and for whom any stereotype was anathema, especially one regarding the Great Mother Continent. Still there I was, parasol in hand, playing memsahib.

Mermaid River

Rokely Beach was a five-mile curve of sand white as table salt tracing the eastern coast of a small mountainous island of vehement green jungle and sugarcane. Far across the Mozambique channel rose the headlands of Madagascar, and in between lay reef and deep water in a million translations of blue. A few tall cumulus clouds stood overhead looking solid and sculpted, as if the scene were a tableau that would never change.

In November, at low tide, under a laserlike midday sun, the sea lay mirror-flat and the scorching beach boomed faintly with emptiness. I felt shipwrecked, with a postcatastrophic mixture of hope and dread, as if finding human footprints amid the tracery left by the tiny colorless crabs would be both a blessing and a terror.

Of course, even then I knew that the place was not at all deserted. Behind the screen of coconut palm, mango, sea pine, and kapok trees were red dirt tracks that led to the sugar mill, to the shrimp fishery, to a decaying port town that retained the lineaments of its French colonial past. Hidden just in back of the sand were villages where I was an object of curiosity: a foreign woman wandering the beach in a showy getup of Indian silk wrap and Chinese lace parasol.

I was there on honeymoon with my second husband, who was Italian and had sailed and dived in the Indian Ocean for years before we met. The disorienting fact of being newly married, in that place so remote from Europe or America, made all my impressions flat and conventionalized, like an exotic toile de Jouy: Paul and Virginie under a coconut palm, and perhaps a couple of cannibals peeping around a bush.

This was ironic, because I am African American, from a strong-minded Philadelphia family whose members had fought for civil rights and for whom any stereotype was anathema, especially one regarding the Great Mother Continent. Still there I was, parasol in hand, playing memsahib.

Beautiful Young Women

Rokely Beach was a five-mile curve of sand white as table salt tracing the eastern coast of a small mountainous island of vehement green jungle and sugarcane. Far across the Mozambique channel rose the headlands of Madagascar, and in between lay reef and deep water in a million translations of blue. A few tall cumulus clouds stood overhead looking solid and sculpted, as if the scene were a tableau that would never change.

In November, at low tide, under a laserlike midday sun, the sea lay mirror-flat and the scorching beach boomed faintly with emptiness. I felt shipwrecked, with a postcatastrophic mixture of hope and dread, as if finding human footprints amid the tracery left by the tiny colorless crabs would be both a blessing and a terror.

Of course, even then I knew that the place was not at all deserted. Behind the screen of coconut palm, mango, sea pine, and kapok trees were red dirt tracks that led to the sugar mill, to the shrimp fishery, to a decaying port town that retained the lineaments of its French colonial past. Hidden just in back of the sand were villages where I was an object of curiosity: a foreign woman wandering the beach in a showy getup of Indian silk wrap and Chinese lace parasol.

I was there on honeymoon with my second husband, who was Italian and had sailed and dived in the Indian Ocean for years before we met. The disorienting fact of being newly married, in that place so remote from Europe or America, made all my impressions flat and conventionalized, like an exotic toile de Jouy: Paul and Virginie under a coconut palm, and perhaps a couple of cannibals peeping around a bush.

This was ironic, because I am African American, from a strong-minded Philadelphia family whose members had fought for civil rights and for whom any stereotype was anathema, especially one regarding the Great Mother Continent. Still there I was, parasol in hand, playing memsahib.

Constellations

Rokely Beach was a five-mile curve of sand white as table salt tracing the eastern coast of a small mountainous island of vehement green jungle and sugarcane. Far across the Mozambique channel rose the headlands of Madagascar, and in between lay reef and deep water in a million translations of blue. A few tall cumulus clouds stood overhead looking solid and sculpted, as if the scene were a tableau that would never change.

In November, at low tide, under a laserlike midday sun, the sea lay mirror-flat and the scorching beach boomed faintly with emptiness. I felt shipwrecked, with a postcatastrophic mixture of hope and dread, as if finding human footprints amid the tracery left by the tiny colorless crabs would be both a blessing and a terror.

Of course, even then I knew that the place was not at all deserted. Behind the screen of coconut palm, mango, sea pine, and kapok trees were red dirt tracks that led to the sugar mill, to the shrimp fishery, to a decaying port town that retained the lineaments of its French colonial past. Hidden just in back of the sand were villages where I was an object of curiosity: a foreign woman wandering the beach in a showy getup of Indian silk wrap and Chinese lace parasol.

I was there on honeymoon with my second husband, who was Italian and had sailed and dived in the Indian Ocean for years before we met. The disorienting fact of being newly married, in that place so remote from Europe or America, made all my impressions flat and conventionalized, like an exotic toile de Jouy: Paul and Virginie under a coconut palm, and perhaps a couple of cannibals peeping around a bush.

This was ironic, because I am African American, from a strong-minded Philadelphia family whose members had fought for civil rights and for whom any stereotype was anathema, especially one regarding the Great Mother Continent. Still there I was, parasol in hand, playing memsahib.

Something About Love

Rokely Beach was a five-mile curve of sand white as table salt tracing the eastern coast of a small mountainous island of vehement green jungle and sugarcane. Far across the Mozambique channel rose the headlands of Madagascar, and in between lay reef and deep water in a million translations of blue. A few tall cumulus clouds stood overhead looking solid and sculpted, as if the scene were a tableau that would never change.

In November, at low tide, under a laserlike midday sun, the sea lay mirror-flat and the scorching beach boomed faintly with emptiness. I felt shipwrecked, with a postcatastrophic mixture of hope and dread, as if finding human footprints amid the tracery left by the tiny colorless crabs would be both a blessing and a terror.

Of course, even then I knew that the place was not at all deserted. Behind the screen of coconut palm, mango, sea pine, and kapok trees were red dirt tracks that led to the sugar mill, to the shrimp fishery, to a decaying port town that retained the lineaments of its French colonial past. Hidden just in back of the sand were villages where I was an object of curiosity: a foreign woman wandering the beach in a showy getup of Indian silk wrap and Chinese lace parasol.

I was there on honeymoon with my second husband, who was Italian and had sailed and dived in the Indian Ocean for years before we met. The disorienting fact of being newly married, in that place so remote from Europe or America, made all my impressions flat and conventionalized, like an exotic toile de Jouy: Paul and Virginie under a coconut palm, and perhaps a couple of cannibals peeping around a bush.

This was ironic, because I am African American, from a strong-minded Philadelphia family whose members had fought for civil rights and for whom any stereotype was anathema, especially one regarding the Great Mother Continent. Still there I was, parasol in hand, playing memsahib.

Sangfroid in San Francisco

Rokely Beach was a five-mile curve of sand white as table salt tracing the eastern coast of a small mountainous island of vehement green jungle and sugarcane. Far across the Mozambique channel rose the headlands of Madagascar, and in between lay reef and deep water in a million translations of blue. A few tall cumulus clouds stood overhead looking solid and sculpted, as if the scene were a tableau that would never change.

In November, at low tide, under a laserlike midday sun, the sea lay mirror-flat and the scorching beach boomed faintly with emptiness. I felt shipwrecked, with a postcatastrophic mixture of hope and dread, as if finding human footprints amid the tracery left by the tiny colorless crabs would be both a blessing and a terror.

Of course, even then I knew that the place was not at all deserted. Behind the screen of coconut palm, mango, sea pine, and kapok trees were red dirt tracks that led to the sugar mill, to the shrimp fishery, to a decaying port town that retained the lineaments of its French colonial past. Hidden just in back of the sand were villages where I was an object of curiosity: a foreign woman wandering the beach in a showy getup of Indian silk wrap and Chinese lace parasol.

I was there on honeymoon with my second husband, who was Italian and had sailed and dived in the Indian Ocean for years before we met. The disorienting fact of being newly married, in that place so remote from Europe or America, made all my impressions flat and conventionalized, like an exotic toile de Jouy: Paul and Virginie under a coconut palm, and perhaps a couple of cannibals peeping around a bush.

This was ironic, because I am African American, from a strong-minded Philadelphia family whose members had fought for civil rights and for whom any stereotype was anathema, especially one regarding the Great Mother Continent. Still there I was, parasol in hand, playing memsahib.

You Could Only Know Us

Rokely Beach was a five-mile curve of sand white as table salt tracing the eastern coast of a small mountainous island of vehement green jungle and sugarcane. Far across the Mozambique channel rose the headlands of Madagascar, and in between lay reef and deep water in a million translations of blue. A few tall cumulus clouds stood overhead looking solid and sculpted, as if the scene were a tableau that would never change.

In November, at low tide, under a laserlike midday sun, the sea lay mirror-flat and the scorching beach boomed faintly with emptiness. I felt shipwrecked, with a postcatastrophic mixture of hope and dread, as if finding human footprints amid the tracery left by the tiny colorless crabs would be both a blessing and a terror.

Of course, even then I knew that the place was not at all deserted. Behind the screen of coconut palm, mango, sea pine, and kapok trees were red dirt tracks that led to the sugar mill, to the shrimp fishery, to a decaying port town that retained the lineaments of its French colonial past. Hidden just in back of the sand were villages where I was an object of curiosity: a foreign woman wandering the beach in a showy getup of Indian silk wrap and Chinese lace parasol.

I was there on honeymoon with my second husband, who was Italian and had sailed and dived in the Indian Ocean for years before we met. The disorienting fact of being newly married, in that place so remote from Europe or America, made all my impressions flat and conventionalized, like an exotic toile de Jouy: Paul and Virginie under a coconut palm, and perhaps a couple of cannibals peeping around a bush.

This was ironic, because I am African American, from a strong-minded Philadelphia family whose members had fought for civil rights and for whom any stereotype was anathema, especially one regarding the Great Mother Continent. Still there I was, parasol in hand, playing memsahib.

Evening Dogs

Rokely Beach was a five-mile curve of sand white as table salt tracing the eastern coast of a small mountainous island of vehement green jungle and sugarcane. Far across the Mozambique channel rose the headlands of Madagascar, and in between lay reef and deep water in a million translations of blue. A few tall cumulus clouds stood overhead looking solid and sculpted, as if the scene were a tableau that would never change.

In November, at low tide, under a laserlike midday sun, the sea lay mirror-flat and the scorching beach boomed faintly with emptiness. I felt shipwrecked, with a postcatastrophic mixture of hope and dread, as if finding human footprints amid the tracery left by the tiny colorless crabs would be both a blessing and a terror.

Of course, even then I knew that the place was not at all deserted. Behind the screen of coconut palm, mango, sea pine, and kapok trees were red dirt tracks that led to the sugar mill, to the shrimp fishery, to a decaying port town that retained the lineaments of its French colonial past. Hidden just in back of the sand were villages where I was an object of curiosity: a foreign woman wandering the beach in a showy getup of Indian silk wrap and Chinese lace parasol.

I was there on honeymoon with my second husband, who was Italian and had sailed and dived in the Indian Ocean for years before we met. The disorienting fact of being newly married, in that place so remote from Europe or America, made all my impressions flat and conventionalized, like an exotic toile de Jouy: Paul and Virginie under a coconut palm, and perhaps a couple of cannibals peeping around a bush.

This was ironic, because I am African American, from a strong-minded Philadelphia family whose members had fought for civil rights and for whom any stereotype was anathema, especially one regarding the Great Mother Continent. Still there I was, parasol in hand, playing memsahib.

The Rent Manual

Rokely Beach was a five-mile curve of sand white as table salt tracing the eastern coast of a small mountainous island of vehement green jungle and sugarcane. Far across the Mozambique channel rose the headlands of Madagascar, and in between lay reef and deep water in a million translations of blue. A few tall cumulus clouds stood overhead looking solid and sculpted, as if the scene were a tableau that would never change.

In November, at low tide, under a laserlike midday sun, the sea lay mirror-flat and the scorching beach boomed faintly with emptiness. I felt shipwrecked, with a postcatastrophic mixture of hope and dread, as if finding human footprints amid the tracery left by the tiny colorless crabs would be both a blessing and a terror.

Of course, even then I knew that the place was not at all deserted. Behind the screen of coconut palm, mango, sea pine, and kapok trees were red dirt tracks that led to the sugar mill, to the shrimp fishery, to a decaying port town that retained the lineaments of its French colonial past. Hidden just in back of the sand were villages where I was an object of curiosity: a foreign woman wandering the beach in a showy getup of Indian silk wrap and Chinese lace parasol.

I was there on honeymoon with my second husband, who was Italian and had sailed and dived in the Indian Ocean for years before we met. The disorienting fact of being newly married, in that place so remote from Europe or America, made all my impressions flat and conventionalized, like an exotic toile de Jouy: Paul and Virginie under a coconut palm, and perhaps a couple of cannibals peeping around a bush.

This was ironic, because I am African American, from a strong-minded Philadelphia family whose members had fought for civil rights and for whom any stereotype was anathema, especially one regarding the Great Mother Continent. Still there I was, parasol in hand, playing memsahib.

One Hundred Million Years of Solitude

Rokely Beach was a five-mile curve of sand white as table salt tracing the eastern coast of a small mountainous island of vehement green jungle and sugarcane. Far across the Mozambique channel rose the headlands of Madagascar, and in between lay reef and deep water in a million translations of blue. A few tall cumulus clouds stood overhead looking solid and sculpted, as if the scene were a tableau that would never change.

In November, at low tide, under a laserlike midday sun, the sea lay mirror-flat and the scorching beach boomed faintly with emptiness. I felt shipwrecked, with a postcatastrophic mixture of hope and dread, as if finding human footprints amid the tracery left by the tiny colorless crabs would be both a blessing and a terror.

Of course, even then I knew that the place was not at all deserted. Behind the screen of coconut palm, mango, sea pine, and kapok trees were red dirt tracks that led to the sugar mill, to the shrimp fishery, to a decaying port town that retained the lineaments of its French colonial past. Hidden just in back of the sand were villages where I was an object of curiosity: a foreign woman wandering the beach in a showy getup of Indian silk wrap and Chinese lace parasol.

I was there on honeymoon with my second husband, who was Italian and had sailed and dived in the Indian Ocean for years before we met. The disorienting fact of being newly married, in that place so remote from Europe or America, made all my impressions flat and conventionalized, like an exotic toile de Jouy: Paul and Virginie under a coconut palm, and perhaps a couple of cannibals peeping around a bush.

This was ironic, because I am African American, from a strong-minded Philadelphia family whose members had fought for civil rights and for whom any stereotype was anathema, especially one regarding the Great Mother Continent. Still there I was, parasol in hand, playing memsahib.

Boys Go to Jupiter

Rokely Beach was a five-mile curve of sand white as table salt tracing the eastern coast of a small mountainous island of vehement green jungle and sugarcane. Far across the Mozambique channel rose the headlands of Madagascar, and in between lay reef and deep water in a million translations of blue. A few tall cumulus clouds stood overhead looking solid and sculpted, as if the scene were a tableau that would never change.

In November, at low tide, under a laserlike midday sun, the sea lay mirror-flat and the scorching beach boomed faintly with emptiness. I felt shipwrecked, with a postcatastrophic mixture of hope and dread, as if finding human footprints amid the tracery left by the tiny colorless crabs would be both a blessing and a terror.

Of course, even then I knew that the place was not at all deserted. Behind the screen of coconut palm, mango, sea pine, and kapok trees were red dirt tracks that led to the sugar mill, to the shrimp fishery, to a decaying port town that retained the lineaments of its French colonial past. Hidden just in back of the sand were villages where I was an object of curiosity: a foreign woman wandering the beach in a showy getup of Indian silk wrap and Chinese lace parasol.

I was there on honeymoon with my second husband, who was Italian and had sailed and dived in the Indian Ocean for years before we met. The disorienting fact of being newly married, in that place so remote from Europe or America, made all my impressions flat and conventionalized, like an exotic toile de Jouy: Paul and Virginie under a coconut palm, and perhaps a couple of cannibals peeping around a bush.

This was ironic, because I am African American, from a strong-minded Philadelphia family whose members had fought for civil rights and for whom any stereotype was anathema, especially one regarding the Great Mother Continent. Still there I was, parasol in hand, playing memsahib.

First Times

Rokely Beach was a five-mile curve of sand white as table salt tracing the eastern coast of a small mountainous island of vehement green jungle and sugarcane. Far across the Mozambique channel rose the headlands of Madagascar, and in between lay reef and deep water in a million translations of blue. A few tall cumulus clouds stood overhead looking solid and sculpted, as if the scene were a tableau that would never change.

In November, at low tide, under a laserlike midday sun, the sea lay mirror-flat and the scorching beach boomed faintly with emptiness. I felt shipwrecked, with a postcatastrophic mixture of hope and dread, as if finding human footprints amid the tracery left by the tiny colorless crabs would be both a blessing and a terror.

Of course, even then I knew that the place was not at all deserted. Behind the screen of coconut palm, mango, sea pine, and kapok trees were red dirt tracks that led to the sugar mill, to the shrimp fishery, to a decaying port town that retained the lineaments of its French colonial past. Hidden just in back of the sand were villages where I was an object of curiosity: a foreign woman wandering the beach in a showy getup of Indian silk wrap and Chinese lace parasol.

I was there on honeymoon with my second husband, who was Italian and had sailed and dived in the Indian Ocean for years before we met. The disorienting fact of being newly married, in that place so remote from Europe or America, made all my impressions flat and conventionalized, like an exotic toile de Jouy: Paul and Virginie under a coconut palm, and perhaps a couple of cannibals peeping around a bush.

This was ironic, because I am African American, from a strong-minded Philadelphia family whose members had fought for civil rights and for whom any stereotype was anathema, especially one regarding the Great Mother Continent. Still there I was, parasol in hand, playing memsahib.

So Far

Rokely Beach was a five-mile curve of sand white as table salt tracing the eastern coast of a small mountainous island of vehement green jungle and sugarcane. Far across the Mozambique channel rose the headlands of Madagascar, and in between lay reef and deep water in a million translations of blue. A few tall cumulus clouds stood overhead looking solid and sculpted, as if the scene were a tableau that would never change.

In November, at low tide, under a laserlike midday sun, the sea lay mirror-flat and the scorching beach boomed faintly with emptiness. I felt shipwrecked, with a postcatastrophic mixture of hope and dread, as if finding human footprints amid the tracery left by the tiny colorless crabs would be both a blessing and a terror.

Of course, even then I knew that the place was not at all deserted. Behind the screen of coconut palm, mango, sea pine, and kapok trees were red dirt tracks that led to the sugar mill, to the shrimp fishery, to a decaying port town that retained the lineaments of its French colonial past. Hidden just in back of the sand were villages where I was an object of curiosity: a foreign woman wandering the beach in a showy getup of Indian silk wrap and Chinese lace parasol.

I was there on honeymoon with my second husband, who was Italian and had sailed and dived in the Indian Ocean for years before we met. The disorienting fact of being newly married, in that place so remote from Europe or America, made all my impressions flat and conventionalized, like an exotic toile de Jouy: Paul and Virginie under a coconut palm, and perhaps a couple of cannibals peeping around a bush.

This was ironic, because I am African American, from a strong-minded Philadelphia family whose members had fought for civil rights and for whom any stereotype was anathema, especially one regarding the Great Mother Continent. Still there I was, parasol in hand, playing memsahib.

True Blue Time

Rokely Beach was a five-mile curve of sand white as table salt tracing the eastern coast of a small mountainous island of vehement green jungle and sugarcane. Far across the Mozambique channel rose the headlands of Madagascar, and in between lay reef and deep water in a million translations of blue. A few tall cumulus clouds stood overhead looking solid and sculpted, as if the scene were a tableau that would never change.

In November, at low tide, under a laserlike midday sun, the sea lay mirror-flat and the scorching beach boomed faintly with emptiness. I felt shipwrecked, with a postcatastrophic mixture of hope and dread, as if finding human footprints amid the tracery left by the tiny colorless crabs would be both a blessing and a terror.

Of course, even then I knew that the place was not at all deserted. Behind the screen of coconut palm, mango, sea pine, and kapok trees were red dirt tracks that led to the sugar mill, to the shrimp fishery, to a decaying port town that retained the lineaments of its French colonial past. Hidden just in back of the sand were villages where I was an object of curiosity: a foreign woman wandering the beach in a showy getup of Indian silk wrap and Chinese lace parasol.

I was there on honeymoon with my second husband, who was Italian and had sailed and dived in the Indian Ocean for years before we met. The disorienting fact of being newly married, in that place so remote from Europe or America, made all my impressions flat and conventionalized, like an exotic toile de Jouy: Paul and Virginie under a coconut palm, and perhaps a couple of cannibals peeping around a bush.

This was ironic, because I am African American, from a strong-minded Philadelphia family whose members had fought for civil rights and for whom any stereotype was anathema, especially one regarding the Great Mother Continent. Still there I was, parasol in hand, playing memsahib.

The Ocean Next Door

Rokely Beach was a five-mile curve of sand white as table salt tracing the eastern coast of a small mountainous island of vehement green jungle and sugarcane. Far across the Mozambique channel rose the headlands of Madagascar, and in between lay reef and deep water in a million translations of blue. A few tall cumulus clouds stood overhead looking solid and sculpted, as if the scene were a tableau that would never change.

In November, at low tide, under a laserlike midday sun, the sea lay mirror-flat and the scorching beach boomed faintly with emptiness. I felt shipwrecked, with a postcatastrophic mixture of hope and dread, as if finding human footprints amid the tracery left by the tiny colorless crabs would be both a blessing and a terror.

Of course, even then I knew that the place was not at all deserted. Behind the screen of coconut palm, mango, sea pine, and kapok trees were red dirt tracks that led to the sugar mill, to the shrimp fishery, to a decaying port town that retained the lineaments of its French colonial past. Hidden just in back of the sand were villages where I was an object of curiosity: a foreign woman wandering the beach in a showy getup of Indian silk wrap and Chinese lace parasol.

I was there on honeymoon with my second husband, who was Italian and had sailed and dived in the Indian Ocean for years before we met. The disorienting fact of being newly married, in that place so remote from Europe or America, made all my impressions flat and conventionalized, like an exotic toile de Jouy: Paul and Virginie under a coconut palm, and perhaps a couple of cannibals peeping around a bush.

This was ironic, because I am African American, from a strong-minded Philadelphia family whose members had fought for civil rights and for whom any stereotype was anathema, especially one regarding the Great Mother Continent. Still there I was, parasol in hand, playing memsahib.

Al, Off the Grid

Rokely Beach was a five-mile curve of sand white as table salt tracing the eastern coast of a small mountainous island of vehement green jungle and sugarcane. Far across the Mozambique channel rose the headlands of Madagascar, and in between lay reef and deep water in a million translations of blue. A few tall cumulus clouds stood overhead looking solid and sculpted, as if the scene were a tableau that would never change.

In November, at low tide, under a laserlike midday sun, the sea lay mirror-flat and the scorching beach boomed faintly with emptiness. I felt shipwrecked, with a postcatastrophic mixture of hope and dread, as if finding human footprints amid the tracery left by the tiny colorless crabs would be both a blessing and a terror.

Of course, even then I knew that the place was not at all deserted. Behind the screen of coconut palm, mango, sea pine, and kapok trees were red dirt tracks that led to the sugar mill, to the shrimp fishery, to a decaying port town that retained the lineaments of its French colonial past. Hidden just in back of the sand were villages where I was an object of curiosity: a foreign woman wandering the beach in a showy getup of Indian silk wrap and Chinese lace parasol.

I was there on honeymoon with my second husband, who was Italian and had sailed and dived in the Indian Ocean for years before we met. The disorienting fact of being newly married, in that place so remote from Europe or America, made all my impressions flat and conventionalized, like an exotic toile de Jouy: Paul and Virginie under a coconut palm, and perhaps a couple of cannibals peeping around a bush.

This was ironic, because I am African American, from a strong-minded Philadelphia family whose members had fought for civil rights and for whom any stereotype was anathema, especially one regarding the Great Mother Continent. Still there I was, parasol in hand, playing memsahib.

Hart Island

Rokely Beach was a five-mile curve of sand white as table salt tracing the eastern coast of a small mountainous island of vehement green jungle and sugarcane. Far across the Mozambique channel rose the headlands of Madagascar, and in between lay reef and deep water in a million translations of blue. A few tall cumulus clouds stood overhead looking solid and sculpted, as if the scene were a tableau that would never change.

In November, at low tide, under a laserlike midday sun, the sea lay mirror-flat and the scorching beach boomed faintly with emptiness. I felt shipwrecked, with a postcatastrophic mixture of hope and dread, as if finding human footprints amid the tracery left by the tiny colorless crabs would be both a blessing and a terror.

Of course, even then I knew that the place was not at all deserted. Behind the screen of coconut palm, mango, sea pine, and kapok trees were red dirt tracks that led to the sugar mill, to the shrimp fishery, to a decaying port town that retained the lineaments of its French colonial past. Hidden just in back of the sand were villages where I was an object of curiosity: a foreign woman wandering the beach in a showy getup of Indian silk wrap and Chinese lace parasol.

I was there on honeymoon with my second husband, who was Italian and had sailed and dived in the Indian Ocean for years before we met. The disorienting fact of being newly married, in that place so remote from Europe or America, made all my impressions flat and conventionalized, like an exotic toile de Jouy: Paul and Virginie under a coconut palm, and perhaps a couple of cannibals peeping around a bush.

This was ironic, because I am African American, from a strong-minded Philadelphia family whose members had fought for civil rights and for whom any stereotype was anathema, especially one regarding the Great Mother Continent. Still there I was, parasol in hand, playing memsahib.

Goombahs

Rokely Beach was a five-mile curve of sand white as table salt tracing the eastern coast of a small mountainous island of vehement green jungle and sugarcane. Far across the Mozambique channel rose the headlands of Madagascar, and in between lay reef and deep water in a million translations of blue. A few tall cumulus clouds stood overhead looking solid and sculpted, as if the scene were a tableau that would never change.

In November, at low tide, under a laserlike midday sun, the sea lay mirror-flat and the scorching beach boomed faintly with emptiness. I felt shipwrecked, with a postcatastrophic mixture of hope and dread, as if finding human footprints amid the tracery left by the tiny colorless crabs would be both a blessing and a terror.

Of course, even then I knew that the place was not at all deserted. Behind the screen of coconut palm, mango, sea pine, and kapok trees were red dirt tracks that led to the sugar mill, to the shrimp fishery, to a decaying port town that retained the lineaments of its French colonial past. Hidden just in back of the sand were villages where I was an object of curiosity: a foreign woman wandering the beach in a showy getup of Indian silk wrap and Chinese lace parasol.

I was there on honeymoon with my second husband, who was Italian and had sailed and dived in the Indian Ocean for years before we met. The disorienting fact of being newly married, in that place so remote from Europe or America, made all my impressions flat and conventionalized, like an exotic toile de Jouy: Paul and Virginie under a coconut palm, and perhaps a couple of cannibals peeping around a bush.

This was ironic, because I am African American, from a strong-minded Philadelphia family whose members had fought for civil rights and for whom any stereotype was anathema, especially one regarding the Great Mother Continent. Still there I was, parasol in hand, playing memsahib.

The Dragon

Rokely Beach was a five-mile curve of sand white as table salt tracing the eastern coast of a small mountainous island of vehement green jungle and sugarcane. Far across the Mozambique channel rose the headlands of Madagascar, and in between lay reef and deep water in a million translations of blue. A few tall cumulus clouds stood overhead looking solid and sculpted, as if the scene were a tableau that would never change.

In November, at low tide, under a laserlike midday sun, the sea lay mirror-flat and the scorching beach boomed faintly with emptiness. I felt shipwrecked, with a postcatastrophic mixture of hope and dread, as if finding human footprints amid the tracery left by the tiny colorless crabs would be both a blessing and a terror.

Of course, even then I knew that the place was not at all deserted. Behind the screen of coconut palm, mango, sea pine, and kapok trees were red dirt tracks that led to the sugar mill, to the shrimp fishery, to a decaying port town that retained the lineaments of its French colonial past. Hidden just in back of the sand were villages where I was an object of curiosity: a foreign woman wandering the beach in a showy getup of Indian silk wrap and Chinese lace parasol.

I was there on honeymoon with my second husband, who was Italian and had sailed and dived in the Indian Ocean for years before we met. The disorienting fact of being newly married, in that place so remote from Europe or America, made all my impressions flat and conventionalized, like an exotic toile de Jouy: Paul and Virginie under a coconut palm, and perhaps a couple of cannibals peeping around a bush.

This was ironic, because I am African American, from a strong-minded Philadelphia family whose members had fought for civil rights and for whom any stereotype was anathema, especially one regarding the Great Mother Continent. Still there I was, parasol in hand, playing memsahib.

The Sloth

Rokely Beach was a five-mile curve of sand white as table salt tracing the eastern coast of a small mountainous island of vehement green jungle and sugarcane. Far across the Mozambique channel rose the headlands of Madagascar, and in between lay reef and deep water in a million translations of blue. A few tall cumulus clouds stood overhead looking solid and sculpted, as if the scene were a tableau that would never change.

In November, at low tide, under a laserlike midday sun, the sea lay mirror-flat and the scorching beach boomed faintly with emptiness. I felt shipwrecked, with a postcatastrophic mixture of hope and dread, as if finding human footprints amid the tracery left by the tiny colorless crabs would be both a blessing and a terror.

Of course, even then I knew that the place was not at all deserted. Behind the screen of coconut palm, mango, sea pine, and kapok trees were red dirt tracks that led to the sugar mill, to the shrimp fishery, to a decaying port town that retained the lineaments of its French colonial past. Hidden just in back of the sand were villages where I was an object of curiosity: a foreign woman wandering the beach in a showy getup of Indian silk wrap and Chinese lace parasol.

I was there on honeymoon with my second husband, who was Italian and had sailed and dived in the Indian Ocean for years before we met. The disorienting fact of being newly married, in that place so remote from Europe or America, made all my impressions flat and conventionalized, like an exotic toile de Jouy: Paul and Virginie under a coconut palm, and perhaps a couple of cannibals peeping around a bush.

This was ironic, because I am African American, from a strong-minded Philadelphia family whose members had fought for civil rights and for whom any stereotype was anathema, especially one regarding the Great Mother Continent. Still there I was, parasol in hand, playing memsahib.

The Old Masters

Rokely Beach was a five-mile curve of sand white as table salt tracing the eastern coast of a small mountainous island of vehement green jungle and sugarcane. Far across the Mozambique channel rose the headlands of Madagascar, and in between lay reef and deep water in a million translations of blue. A few tall cumulus clouds stood overhead looking solid and sculpted, as if the scene were a tableau that would never change.

In November, at low tide, under a laserlike midday sun, the sea lay mirror-flat and the scorching beach boomed faintly with emptiness. I felt shipwrecked, with a postcatastrophic mixture of hope and dread, as if finding human footprints amid the tracery left by the tiny colorless crabs would be both a blessing and a terror.

Of course, even then I knew that the place was not at all deserted. Behind the screen of coconut palm, mango, sea pine, and kapok trees were red dirt tracks that led to the sugar mill, to the shrimp fishery, to a decaying port town that retained the lineaments of its French colonial past. Hidden just in back of the sand were villages where I was an object of curiosity: a foreign woman wandering the beach in a showy getup of Indian silk wrap and Chinese lace parasol.

I was there on honeymoon with my second husband, who was Italian and had sailed and dived in the Indian Ocean for years before we met. The disorienting fact of being newly married, in that place so remote from Europe or America, made all my impressions flat and conventionalized, like an exotic toile de Jouy: Paul and Virginie under a coconut palm, and perhaps a couple of cannibals peeping around a bush.

This was ironic, because I am African American, from a strong-minded Philadelphia family whose members had fought for civil rights and for whom any stereotype was anathema, especially one regarding the Great Mother Continent. Still there I was, parasol in hand, playing memsahib.

Ava Gardner Goes Home

Rokely Beach was a five-mile curve of sand white as table salt tracing the eastern coast of a small mountainous island of vehement green jungle and sugarcane. Far across the Mozambique channel rose the headlands of Madagascar, and in between lay reef and deep water in a million translations of blue. A few tall cumulus clouds stood overhead looking solid and sculpted, as if the scene were a tableau that would never change.

In November, at low tide, under a laserlike midday sun, the sea lay mirror-flat and the scorching beach boomed faintly with emptiness. I felt shipwrecked, with a postcatastrophic mixture of hope and dread, as if finding human footprints amid the tracery left by the tiny colorless crabs would be both a blessing and a terror.

Of course, even then I knew that the place was not at all deserted. Behind the screen of coconut palm, mango, sea pine, and kapok trees were red dirt tracks that led to the sugar mill, to the shrimp fishery, to a decaying port town that retained the lineaments of its French colonial past. Hidden just in back of the sand were villages where I was an object of curiosity: a foreign woman wandering the beach in a showy getup of Indian silk wrap and Chinese lace parasol.

I was there on honeymoon with my second husband, who was Italian and had sailed and dived in the Indian Ocean for years before we met. The disorienting fact of being newly married, in that place so remote from Europe or America, made all my impressions flat and conventionalized, like an exotic toile de Jouy: Paul and Virginie under a coconut palm, and perhaps a couple of cannibals peeping around a bush.

This was ironic, because I am African American, from a strong-minded Philadelphia family whose members had fought for civil rights and for whom any stereotype was anathema, especially one regarding the Great Mother Continent. Still there I was, parasol in hand, playing memsahib.

What’s There to Come Back To?

Rokely Beach was a five-mile curve of sand white as table salt tracing the eastern coast of a small mountainous island of vehement green jungle and sugarcane. Far across the Mozambique channel rose the headlands of Madagascar, and in between lay reef and deep water in a million translations of blue. A few tall cumulus clouds stood overhead looking solid and sculpted, as if the scene were a tableau that would never change.

In November, at low tide, under a laserlike midday sun, the sea lay mirror-flat and the scorching beach boomed faintly with emptiness. I felt shipwrecked, with a postcatastrophic mixture of hope and dread, as if finding human footprints amid the tracery left by the tiny colorless crabs would be both a blessing and a terror.

Of course, even then I knew that the place was not at all deserted. Behind the screen of coconut palm, mango, sea pine, and kapok trees were red dirt tracks that led to the sugar mill, to the shrimp fishery, to a decaying port town that retained the lineaments of its French colonial past. Hidden just in back of the sand were villages where I was an object of curiosity: a foreign woman wandering the beach in a showy getup of Indian silk wrap and Chinese lace parasol.

I was there on honeymoon with my second husband, who was Italian and had sailed and dived in the Indian Ocean for years before we met. The disorienting fact of being newly married, in that place so remote from Europe or America, made all my impressions flat and conventionalized, like an exotic toile de Jouy: Paul and Virginie under a coconut palm, and perhaps a couple of cannibals peeping around a bush.

This was ironic, because I am African American, from a strong-minded Philadelphia family whose members had fought for civil rights and for whom any stereotype was anathema, especially one regarding the Great Mother Continent. Still there I was, parasol in hand, playing memsahib.

Postprandial

Rokely Beach was a five-mile curve of sand white as table salt tracing the eastern coast of a small mountainous island of vehement green jungle and sugarcane. Far across the Mozambique channel rose the headlands of Madagascar, and in between lay reef and deep water in a million translations of blue. A few tall cumulus clouds stood overhead looking solid and sculpted, as if the scene were a tableau that would never change.

In November, at low tide, under a laserlike midday sun, the sea lay mirror-flat and the scorching beach boomed faintly with emptiness. I felt shipwrecked, with a postcatastrophic mixture of hope and dread, as if finding human footprints amid the tracery left by the tiny colorless crabs would be both a blessing and a terror.

Of course, even then I knew that the place was not at all deserted. Behind the screen of coconut palm, mango, sea pine, and kapok trees were red dirt tracks that led to the sugar mill, to the shrimp fishery, to a decaying port town that retained the lineaments of its French colonial past. Hidden just in back of the sand were villages where I was an object of curiosity: a foreign woman wandering the beach in a showy getup of Indian silk wrap and Chinese lace parasol.

I was there on honeymoon with my second husband, who was Italian and had sailed and dived in the Indian Ocean for years before we met. The disorienting fact of being newly married, in that place so remote from Europe or America, made all my impressions flat and conventionalized, like an exotic toile de Jouy: Paul and Virginie under a coconut palm, and perhaps a couple of cannibals peeping around a bush.

This was ironic, because I am African American, from a strong-minded Philadelphia family whose members had fought for civil rights and for whom any stereotype was anathema, especially one regarding the Great Mother Continent. Still there I was, parasol in hand, playing memsahib.

The Waterfall

Rokely Beach was a five-mile curve of sand white as table salt tracing the eastern coast of a small mountainous island of vehement green jungle and sugarcane. Far across the Mozambique channel rose the headlands of Madagascar, and in between lay reef and deep water in a million translations of blue. A few tall cumulus clouds stood overhead looking solid and sculpted, as if the scene were a tableau that would never change.

In November, at low tide, under a laserlike midday sun, the sea lay mirror-flat and the scorching beach boomed faintly with emptiness. I felt shipwrecked, with a postcatastrophic mixture of hope and dread, as if finding human footprints amid the tracery left by the tiny colorless crabs would be both a blessing and a terror.

Of course, even then I knew that the place was not at all deserted. Behind the screen of coconut palm, mango, sea pine, and kapok trees were red dirt tracks that led to the sugar mill, to the shrimp fishery, to a decaying port town that retained the lineaments of its French colonial past. Hidden just in back of the sand were villages where I was an object of curiosity: a foreign woman wandering the beach in a showy getup of Indian silk wrap and Chinese lace parasol.

I was there on honeymoon with my second husband, who was Italian and had sailed and dived in the Indian Ocean for years before we met. The disorienting fact of being newly married, in that place so remote from Europe or America, made all my impressions flat and conventionalized, like an exotic toile de Jouy: Paul and Virginie under a coconut palm, and perhaps a couple of cannibals peeping around a bush.

This was ironic, because I am African American, from a strong-minded Philadelphia family whose members had fought for civil rights and for whom any stereotype was anathema, especially one regarding the Great Mother Continent. Still there I was, parasol in hand, playing memsahib.

Emaciated Poetry

Rokely Beach was a five-mile curve of sand white as table salt tracing the eastern coast of a small mountainous island of vehement green jungle and sugarcane. Far across the Mozambique channel rose the headlands of Madagascar, and in between lay reef and deep water in a million translations of blue. A few tall cumulus clouds stood overhead looking solid and sculpted, as if the scene were a tableau that would never change.

In November, at low tide, under a laserlike midday sun, the sea lay mirror-flat and the scorching beach boomed faintly with emptiness. I felt shipwrecked, with a postcatastrophic mixture of hope and dread, as if finding human footprints amid the tracery left by the tiny colorless crabs would be both a blessing and a terror.

Of course, even then I knew that the place was not at all deserted. Behind the screen of coconut palm, mango, sea pine, and kapok trees were red dirt tracks that led to the sugar mill, to the shrimp fishery, to a decaying port town that retained the lineaments of its French colonial past. Hidden just in back of the sand were villages where I was an object of curiosity: a foreign woman wandering the beach in a showy getup of Indian silk wrap and Chinese lace parasol.

I was there on honeymoon with my second husband, who was Italian and had sailed and dived in the Indian Ocean for years before we met. The disorienting fact of being newly married, in that place so remote from Europe or America, made all my impressions flat and conventionalized, like an exotic toile de Jouy: Paul and Virginie under a coconut palm, and perhaps a couple of cannibals peeping around a bush.

This was ironic, because I am African American, from a strong-minded Philadelphia family whose members had fought for civil rights and for whom any stereotype was anathema, especially one regarding the Great Mother Continent. Still there I was, parasol in hand, playing memsahib.

Leaving Ireland

Rokely Beach was a five-mile curve of sand white as table salt tracing the eastern coast of a small mountainous island of vehement green jungle and sugarcane. Far across the Mozambique channel rose the headlands of Madagascar, and in between lay reef and deep water in a million translations of blue. A few tall cumulus clouds stood overhead looking solid and sculpted, as if the scene were a tableau that would never change.

In November, at low tide, under a laserlike midday sun, the sea lay mirror-flat and the scorching beach boomed faintly with emptiness. I felt shipwrecked, with a postcatastrophic mixture of hope and dread, as if finding human footprints amid the tracery left by the tiny colorless crabs would be both a blessing and a terror.

Of course, even then I knew that the place was not at all deserted. Behind the screen of coconut palm, mango, sea pine, and kapok trees were red dirt tracks that led to the sugar mill, to the shrimp fishery, to a decaying port town that retained the lineaments of its French colonial past. Hidden just in back of the sand were villages where I was an object of curiosity: a foreign woman wandering the beach in a showy getup of Indian silk wrap and Chinese lace parasol.

I was there on honeymoon with my second husband, who was Italian and had sailed and dived in the Indian Ocean for years before we met. The disorienting fact of being newly married, in that place so remote from Europe or America, made all my impressions flat and conventionalized, like an exotic toile de Jouy: Paul and Virginie under a coconut palm, and perhaps a couple of cannibals peeping around a bush.

This was ironic, because I am African American, from a strong-minded Philadelphia family whose members had fought for civil rights and for whom any stereotype was anathema, especially one regarding the Great Mother Continent. Still there I was, parasol in hand, playing memsahib.

Mother Ireland

Rokely Beach was a five-mile curve of sand white as table salt tracing the eastern coast of a small mountainous island of vehement green jungle and sugarcane. Far across the Mozambique channel rose the headlands of Madagascar, and in between lay reef and deep water in a million translations of blue. A few tall cumulus clouds stood overhead looking solid and sculpted, as if the scene were a tableau that would never change.

In November, at low tide, under a laserlike midday sun, the sea lay mirror-flat and the scorching beach boomed faintly with emptiness. I felt shipwrecked, with a postcatastrophic mixture of hope and dread, as if finding human footprints amid the tracery left by the tiny colorless crabs would be both a blessing and a terror.

Of course, even then I knew that the place was not at all deserted. Behind the screen of coconut palm, mango, sea pine, and kapok trees were red dirt tracks that led to the sugar mill, to the shrimp fishery, to a decaying port town that retained the lineaments of its French colonial past. Hidden just in back of the sand were villages where I was an object of curiosity: a foreign woman wandering the beach in a showy getup of Indian silk wrap and Chinese lace parasol.

I was there on honeymoon with my second husband, who was Italian and had sailed and dived in the Indian Ocean for years before we met. The disorienting fact of being newly married, in that place so remote from Europe or America, made all my impressions flat and conventionalized, like an exotic toile de Jouy: Paul and Virginie under a coconut palm, and perhaps a couple of cannibals peeping around a bush.

This was ironic, because I am African American, from a strong-minded Philadelphia family whose members had fought for civil rights and for whom any stereotype was anathema, especially one regarding the Great Mother Continent. Still there I was, parasol in hand, playing memsahib.

Cow Man

Rokely Beach was a five-mile curve of sand white as table salt tracing the eastern coast of a small mountainous island of vehement green jungle and sugarcane. Far across the Mozambique channel rose the headlands of Madagascar, and in between lay reef and deep water in a million translations of blue. A few tall cumulus clouds stood overhead looking solid and sculpted, as if the scene were a tableau that would never change.

In November, at low tide, under a laserlike midday sun, the sea lay mirror-flat and the scorching beach boomed faintly with emptiness. I felt shipwrecked, with a postcatastrophic mixture of hope and dread, as if finding human footprints amid the tracery left by the tiny colorless crabs would be both a blessing and a terror.

Of course, even then I knew that the place was not at all deserted. Behind the screen of coconut palm, mango, sea pine, and kapok trees were red dirt tracks that led to the sugar mill, to the shrimp fishery, to a decaying port town that retained the lineaments of its French colonial past. Hidden just in back of the sand were villages where I was an object of curiosity: a foreign woman wandering the beach in a showy getup of Indian silk wrap and Chinese lace parasol.

I was there on honeymoon with my second husband, who was Italian and had sailed and dived in the Indian Ocean for years before we met. The disorienting fact of being newly married, in that place so remote from Europe or America, made all my impressions flat and conventionalized, like an exotic toile de Jouy: Paul and Virginie under a coconut palm, and perhaps a couple of cannibals peeping around a bush.

This was ironic, because I am African American, from a strong-minded Philadelphia family whose members had fought for civil rights and for whom any stereotype was anathema, especially one regarding the Great Mother Continent. Still there I was, parasol in hand, playing memsahib.

The Caretaker

Rokely Beach was a five-mile curve of sand white as table salt tracing the eastern coast of a small mountainous island of vehement green jungle and sugarcane. Far across the Mozambique channel rose the headlands of Madagascar, and in between lay reef and deep water in a million translations of blue. A few tall cumulus clouds stood overhead looking solid and sculpted, as if the scene were a tableau that would never change.

In November, at low tide, under a laserlike midday sun, the sea lay mirror-flat and the scorching beach boomed faintly with emptiness. I felt shipwrecked, with a postcatastrophic mixture of hope and dread, as if finding human footprints amid the tracery left by the tiny colorless crabs would be both a blessing and a terror.

Of course, even then I knew that the place was not at all deserted. Behind the screen of coconut palm, mango, sea pine, and kapok trees were red dirt tracks that led to the sugar mill, to the shrimp fishery, to a decaying port town that retained the lineaments of its French colonial past. Hidden just in back of the sand were villages where I was an object of curiosity: a foreign woman wandering the beach in a showy getup of Indian silk wrap and Chinese lace parasol.

I was there on honeymoon with my second husband, who was Italian and had sailed and dived in the Indian Ocean for years before we met. The disorienting fact of being newly married, in that place so remote from Europe or America, made all my impressions flat and conventionalized, like an exotic toile de Jouy: Paul and Virginie under a coconut palm, and perhaps a couple of cannibals peeping around a bush.

This was ironic, because I am African American, from a strong-minded Philadelphia family whose members had fought for civil rights and for whom any stereotype was anathema, especially one regarding the Great Mother Continent. Still there I was, parasol in hand, playing memsahib.

Slide

Rokely Beach was a five-mile curve of sand white as table salt tracing the eastern coast of a small mountainous island of vehement green jungle and sugarcane. Far across the Mozambique channel rose the headlands of Madagascar, and in between lay reef and deep water in a million translations of blue. A few tall cumulus clouds stood overhead looking solid and sculpted, as if the scene were a tableau that would never change.

In November, at low tide, under a laserlike midday sun, the sea lay mirror-flat and the scorching beach boomed faintly with emptiness. I felt shipwrecked, with a postcatastrophic mixture of hope and dread, as if finding human footprints amid the tracery left by the tiny colorless crabs would be both a blessing and a terror.

Of course, even then I knew that the place was not at all deserted. Behind the screen of coconut palm, mango, sea pine, and kapok trees were red dirt tracks that led to the sugar mill, to the shrimp fishery, to a decaying port town that retained the lineaments of its French colonial past. Hidden just in back of the sand were villages where I was an object of curiosity: a foreign woman wandering the beach in a showy getup of Indian silk wrap and Chinese lace parasol.

I was there on honeymoon with my second husband, who was Italian and had sailed and dived in the Indian Ocean for years before we met. The disorienting fact of being newly married, in that place so remote from Europe or America, made all my impressions flat and conventionalized, like an exotic toile de Jouy: Paul and Virginie under a coconut palm, and perhaps a couple of cannibals peeping around a bush.

This was ironic, because I am African American, from a strong-minded Philadelphia family whose members had fought for civil rights and for whom any stereotype was anathema, especially one regarding the Great Mother Continent. Still there I was, parasol in hand, playing memsahib.

From La Ribera

Rokely Beach was a five-mile curve of sand white as table salt tracing the eastern coast of a small mountainous island of vehement green jungle and sugarcane. Far across the Mozambique channel rose the headlands of Madagascar, and in between lay reef and deep water in a million translations of blue. A few tall cumulus clouds stood overhead looking solid and sculpted, as if the scene were a tableau that would never change.

In November, at low tide, under a laserlike midday sun, the sea lay mirror-flat and the scorching beach boomed faintly with emptiness. I felt shipwrecked, with a postcatastrophic mixture of hope and dread, as if finding human footprints amid the tracery left by the tiny colorless crabs would be both a blessing and a terror.

Of course, even then I knew that the place was not at all deserted. Behind the screen of coconut palm, mango, sea pine, and kapok trees were red dirt tracks that led to the sugar mill, to the shrimp fishery, to a decaying port town that retained the lineaments of its French colonial past. Hidden just in back of the sand were villages where I was an object of curiosity: a foreign woman wandering the beach in a showy getup of Indian silk wrap and Chinese lace parasol.

I was there on honeymoon with my second husband, who was Italian and had sailed and dived in the Indian Ocean for years before we met. The disorienting fact of being newly married, in that place so remote from Europe or America, made all my impressions flat and conventionalized, like an exotic toile de Jouy: Paul and Virginie under a coconut palm, and perhaps a couple of cannibals peeping around a bush.

This was ironic, because I am African American, from a strong-minded Philadelphia family whose members had fought for civil rights and for whom any stereotype was anathema, especially one regarding the Great Mother Continent. Still there I was, parasol in hand, playing memsahib.

Fire Sermon

Rokely Beach was a five-mile curve of sand white as table salt tracing the eastern coast of a small mountainous island of vehement green jungle and sugarcane. Far across the Mozambique channel rose the headlands of Madagascar, and in between lay reef and deep water in a million translations of blue. A few tall cumulus clouds stood overhead looking solid and sculpted, as if the scene were a tableau that would never change.

In November, at low tide, under a laserlike midday sun, the sea lay mirror-flat and the scorching beach boomed faintly with emptiness. I felt shipwrecked, with a postcatastrophic mixture of hope and dread, as if finding human footprints amid the tracery left by the tiny colorless crabs would be both a blessing and a terror.

Of course, even then I knew that the place was not at all deserted. Behind the screen of coconut palm, mango, sea pine, and kapok trees were red dirt tracks that led to the sugar mill, to the shrimp fishery, to a decaying port town that retained the lineaments of its French colonial past. Hidden just in back of the sand were villages where I was an object of curiosity: a foreign woman wandering the beach in a showy getup of Indian silk wrap and Chinese lace parasol.

I was there on honeymoon with my second husband, who was Italian and had sailed and dived in the Indian Ocean for years before we met. The disorienting fact of being newly married, in that place so remote from Europe or America, made all my impressions flat and conventionalized, like an exotic toile de Jouy: Paul and Virginie under a coconut palm, and perhaps a couple of cannibals peeping around a bush.

This was ironic, because I am African American, from a strong-minded Philadelphia family whose members had fought for civil rights and for whom any stereotype was anathema, especially one regarding the Great Mother Continent. Still there I was, parasol in hand, playing memsahib.

The King of Dauphin Island

Rokely Beach was a five-mile curve of sand white as table salt tracing the eastern coast of a small mountainous island of vehement green jungle and sugarcane. Far across the Mozambique channel rose the headlands of Madagascar, and in between lay reef and deep water in a million translations of blue. A few tall cumulus clouds stood overhead looking solid and sculpted, as if the scene were a tableau that would never change.

In November, at low tide, under a laserlike midday sun, the sea lay mirror-flat and the scorching beach boomed faintly with emptiness. I felt shipwrecked, with a postcatastrophic mixture of hope and dread, as if finding human footprints amid the tracery left by the tiny colorless crabs would be both a blessing and a terror.

Of course, even then I knew that the place was not at all deserted. Behind the screen of coconut palm, mango, sea pine, and kapok trees were red dirt tracks that led to the sugar mill, to the shrimp fishery, to a decaying port town that retained the lineaments of its French colonial past. Hidden just in back of the sand were villages where I was an object of curiosity: a foreign woman wandering the beach in a showy getup of Indian silk wrap and Chinese lace parasol.

I was there on honeymoon with my second husband, who was Italian and had sailed and dived in the Indian Ocean for years before we met. The disorienting fact of being newly married, in that place so remote from Europe or America, made all my impressions flat and conventionalized, like an exotic toile de Jouy: Paul and Virginie under a coconut palm, and perhaps a couple of cannibals peeping around a bush.

This was ironic, because I am African American, from a strong-minded Philadelphia family whose members had fought for civil rights and for whom any stereotype was anathema, especially one regarding the Great Mother Continent. Still there I was, parasol in hand, playing memsahib.

The Okiedoke

Rokely Beach was a five-mile curve of sand white as table salt tracing the eastern coast of a small mountainous island of vehement green jungle and sugarcane. Far across the Mozambique channel rose the headlands of Madagascar, and in between lay reef and deep water in a million translations of blue. A few tall cumulus clouds stood overhead looking solid and sculpted, as if the scene were a tableau that would never change.

In November, at low tide, under a laserlike midday sun, the sea lay mirror-flat and the scorching beach boomed faintly with emptiness. I felt shipwrecked, with a postcatastrophic mixture of hope and dread, as if finding human footprints amid the tracery left by the tiny colorless crabs would be both a blessing and a terror.

Of course, even then I knew that the place was not at all deserted. Behind the screen of coconut palm, mango, sea pine, and kapok trees were red dirt tracks that led to the sugar mill, to the shrimp fishery, to a decaying port town that retained the lineaments of its French colonial past. Hidden just in back of the sand were villages where I was an object of curiosity: a foreign woman wandering the beach in a showy getup of Indian silk wrap and Chinese lace parasol.

I was there on honeymoon with my second husband, who was Italian and had sailed and dived in the Indian Ocean for years before we met. The disorienting fact of being newly married, in that place so remote from Europe or America, made all my impressions flat and conventionalized, like an exotic toile de Jouy: Paul and Virginie under a coconut palm, and perhaps a couple of cannibals peeping around a bush.

This was ironic, because I am African American, from a strong-minded Philadelphia family whose members had fought for civil rights and for whom any stereotype was anathema, especially one regarding the Great Mother Continent. Still there I was, parasol in hand, playing memsahib.

The Dark Waters

Rokely Beach was a five-mile curve of sand white as table salt tracing the eastern coast of a small mountainous island of vehement green jungle and sugarcane. Far across the Mozambique channel rose the headlands of Madagascar, and in between lay reef and deep water in a million translations of blue. A few tall cumulus clouds stood overhead looking solid and sculpted, as if the scene were a tableau that would never change.

In November, at low tide, under a laserlike midday sun, the sea lay mirror-flat and the scorching beach boomed faintly with emptiness. I felt shipwrecked, with a postcatastrophic mixture of hope and dread, as if finding human footprints amid the tracery left by the tiny colorless crabs would be both a blessing and a terror.

Of course, even then I knew that the place was not at all deserted. Behind the screen of coconut palm, mango, sea pine, and kapok trees were red dirt tracks that led to the sugar mill, to the shrimp fishery, to a decaying port town that retained the lineaments of its French colonial past. Hidden just in back of the sand were villages where I was an object of curiosity: a foreign woman wandering the beach in a showy getup of Indian silk wrap and Chinese lace parasol.

I was there on honeymoon with my second husband, who was Italian and had sailed and dived in the Indian Ocean for years before we met. The disorienting fact of being newly married, in that place so remote from Europe or America, made all my impressions flat and conventionalized, like an exotic toile de Jouy: Paul and Virginie under a coconut palm, and perhaps a couple of cannibals peeping around a bush.

This was ironic, because I am African American, from a strong-minded Philadelphia family whose members had fought for civil rights and for whom any stereotype was anathema, especially one regarding the Great Mother Continent. Still there I was, parasol in hand, playing memsahib.

Revelation

Rokely Beach was a five-mile curve of sand white as table salt tracing the eastern coast of a small mountainous island of vehement green jungle and sugarcane. Far across the Mozambique channel rose the headlands of Madagascar, and in between lay reef and deep water in a million translations of blue. A few tall cumulus clouds stood overhead looking solid and sculpted, as if the scene were a tableau that would never change.

In November, at low tide, under a laserlike midday sun, the sea lay mirror-flat and the scorching beach boomed faintly with emptiness. I felt shipwrecked, with a postcatastrophic mixture of hope and dread, as if finding human footprints amid the tracery left by the tiny colorless crabs would be both a blessing and a terror.

Of course, even then I knew that the place was not at all deserted. Behind the screen of coconut palm, mango, sea pine, and kapok trees were red dirt tracks that led to the sugar mill, to the shrimp fishery, to a decaying port town that retained the lineaments of its French colonial past. Hidden just in back of the sand were villages where I was an object of curiosity: a foreign woman wandering the beach in a showy getup of Indian silk wrap and Chinese lace parasol.

I was there on honeymoon with my second husband, who was Italian and had sailed and dived in the Indian Ocean for years before we met. The disorienting fact of being newly married, in that place so remote from Europe or America, made all my impressions flat and conventionalized, like an exotic toile de Jouy: Paul and Virginie under a coconut palm, and perhaps a couple of cannibals peeping around a bush.

This was ironic, because I am African American, from a strong-minded Philadelphia family whose members had fought for civil rights and for whom any stereotype was anathema, especially one regarding the Great Mother Continent. Still there I was, parasol in hand, playing memsahib.

The Coblins

Rokely Beach was a five-mile curve of sand white as table salt tracing the eastern coast of a small mountainous island of vehement green jungle and sugarcane. Far across the Mozambique channel rose the headlands of Madagascar, and in between lay reef and deep water in a million translations of blue. A few tall cumulus clouds stood overhead looking solid and sculpted, as if the scene were a tableau that would never change.

In November, at low tide, under a laserlike midday sun, the sea lay mirror-flat and the scorching beach boomed faintly with emptiness. I felt shipwrecked, with a postcatastrophic mixture of hope and dread, as if finding human footprints amid the tracery left by the tiny colorless crabs would be both a blessing and a terror.

Of course, even then I knew that the place was not at all deserted. Behind the screen of coconut palm, mango, sea pine, and kapok trees were red dirt tracks that led to the sugar mill, to the shrimp fishery, to a decaying port town that retained the lineaments of its French colonial past. Hidden just in back of the sand were villages where I was an object of curiosity: a foreign woman wandering the beach in a showy getup of Indian silk wrap and Chinese lace parasol.

I was there on honeymoon with my second husband, who was Italian and had sailed and dived in the Indian Ocean for years before we met. The disorienting fact of being newly married, in that place so remote from Europe or America, made all my impressions flat and conventionalized, like an exotic toile de Jouy: Paul and Virginie under a coconut palm, and perhaps a couple of cannibals peeping around a bush.

This was ironic, because I am African American, from a strong-minded Philadelphia family whose members had fought for civil rights and for whom any stereotype was anathema, especially one regarding the Great Mother Continent. Still there I was, parasol in hand, playing memsahib.

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