Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Ragged Island is at the very tip of the Jumentos Cays, a crescent moon shaped island chain in the far southwest Bahamas. It has a population of sixty hearty souls who share nine square miles of sand, salt ponds, coconut palms and one DC-10 airplane wreck that for years was a bar but is now a family home.

It may be smack in the middle of the middle of nowhere, but there is nothing ragged about Ragged. The landing strip is being extended, a new harbor dug and Duncan Town, the island’s only settlement, has a clean and hopeful look. Every day nine children report to the All-Age Primary School dressed in crisp white shirts and plaid skirts (girls) or black pants (boys). The teachers, a married couple from Guyana, are responsible for preparing these students for secondary school available only on other, more populated islands.

Despite the fact that Ragged Island is nothing more than a tiny dot in a vast ocean, as is far away from rules, regulations and watchful eyes, school starts on time. The kids are respectful, neat and polite. There is a schedule and it is followed. Lots of learning takes place.

Several days ago during a morning yoga practice, I found myself hurried and distracted. I cut short my warm-up and pieced together poses without much thought or intention. When I heard the beep of an incoming e-mail I left the mat to see who it was. Ten minutes later, I left again to answer the phone.

Later, resting in an unearned Savasana, I made a pledge: When I step onto this rectangular island I will show it the respect it deserves. I will start with a plan, and maintain a focused practice even as it evolves and changes. I will close with my palms together in a seal of gratitude. And if the computer beeps or the phone rings, I’ll think of nine children in uniforms sitting in a classroom in the middle of the middle of nowhere, and stay right where I am.

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