Springfield Dominica: My Favourite Place on the Nature Isle*

Painting of Springfield Plantation by Dominican Artist Earl Etienne in 1996.

Painting of Springfield Plantation Guest House by Dominican artist Earl Etienne in 1996. It presently hangs in the dining room, which is the former Great House.

Over the past week, I had the good fortune to visit  Dominica’s Springfield Plantation on three occasions.  This stately property was  my first home in Dominica, and there are times when I wish I had never left her  pristine  air and peaceful beauty!  I have also had the pleasure of getting to know some wonderful people there: Mona George-Dill, who oversaw the then Springfield Plantation Guest House in the 1990’s and early 2000’s; Nancy Osler, current manager of the on-site Archbold Tropical Research and Education Center; and members of the Eusell family, who lived nearby and  are still associated with the estate.  All of these folks have always been very welcoming and kind to me, which contributes to my  ongoing affection for my favourite place on the Nature Island. While it is no longer a hotel, I enjoy spending a little time there whenever possible.

Springfield has a longstanding reputation as a garden on the edge of the rainforest..

Springfield has a longstanding reputation as a beautiful garden on the edge of the rainforest.

From my first visit, I was so taken with this charming estate, which is set on the edge of the rainforest, that I wrote a poem about it during my early days in Dominica.  It was dedicated to Mona George-Dill and I presented it to her in 1997.  She helped me familiarize with Dominica’s culture and customs, for which I am forever grateful.

During my second stay at Springfield, I thought I heard a strange voice call my name in the middle of the night.  As the property dates back to the mid-1700’s, I thought it might have been a ghost – a friendly one, of course!  Even though I am not a poet, these words came tumbling out of my head via my pen the next morning:

The Ghosts of Springfield

There were some very melodious voices on the night on August 21, 2013, as the Just Us Youth Choir from St. Lucia was in the house.

There were very melodious voices at Springfield on the night of August 21, 2013, as the Just Us Youth Choir from St. Lucia was in the house.

Voices in the night.

Dominica's popular Sisserou Singers were there in full voice too!

Dominica’s popular Sisserou Singers provided glorious vocal harmonies too!

A light mist falls

and caresses the old plantation

like a lover in the night.

Stifling hot stillness is relieved

by soothing breezes.

The spirits speak kindly

to those who stay

From Springfield, the view of the Antrim Valley down to the Caribbean sea always evokes a feeling of tranquility.

From Springfield, the view of the Antrim Valley down to the Caribbean Sea always evokes a feeling of tranquility.

and seek refuge

in a tranquility

rarely found elsewhere.

This plaque on the Great House's veranda complements my feelings about Springfield.

This plaque  is found on a pillar of the Great House’s veranda. It perfectly complements my thoughts about Springfield.

The garden of Springfield

blooms eternally

with a love

that will never die.

The track to the Springfield River envelops one in serenity as one walks through this rainforest garden.

The track to the Springfield River envelops one in serenity.

To Mona,

The cool and coursing Springfield River offers an idyllic respite from the everyday.

The cool and coursing Springfield River offers an idyllic respite from the everyday.

Love, Gwen

 October 14, 1997

*For more information about Springfield, Dominica (past and present), refer to my article in Domnitjen Magazine.

Advertisements

2 comments on “Springfield Dominica: My Favourite Place on the Nature Isle*

  1. Ted L says:

    Hi Gwen: You write a wonderful blog about my favorite place of earth. If all works out I plan to move there after I sell my house in North Carolina. I’m a veteran of 13 visits.Because the sale of houses around here are slow as a snail it may be sometime before I can do this. How long have you lived on the Nature Island?

    Meanwhile, keep up the excellent work.

    Take care.
    Ted

    Like

    • gwendominica says:

      Hi Ted. Thanks for your kind and supportive words about Ti Domnik Tales. You certainly have visited the Nature Island a good many times. I’ve been here for most of 16 years. It’s been quite an adventure, as you can see! Good luck with your house sale up north.

      Like

Comments are closed.