This article is taken from our archives. It first appeared in the July 1949 issue of The Bermudian. It appears here exactly as it did originally. The writer of this article, Mrs. Florence A. Cooksley, is obviously a lover of Bermuda. But she is also well qualified to write on the subject for she has long been manager of “Medical Writing Service,” Washington, D.C., and so has had access to much information on the value of travel from eminent medical authorities. We feel sure her views on the year-round beauty of Bermuda will be appreciated.
At Eastertime, Bermuda is very lovely- but then, Bermuda at any time is beautiful. The glory of any day is a matter of which flower is more abundantly in bloom. The flowers of the Island seem to scoff at their natural cycle and just bloom on inceasingly. At Christmastime the poinsettias blaze around each house but some, undiscouraged are still blooming now at Easter, great double blooms bowing to us through the windows. Even in August I have seen errant poinsettias reflecting the brilliant sun in their crimson. In Springtime the fardens and lanes are adged with hibiscus, bug red or yellow stars of color pushing their way through the thick green of the hedge. Daring solitary blossoms venture forth even in December to outline the roadway, but in summer they burst out in a mass of color and fild the anwary passerby with their pollen. In the gardens now are rows of tall sweetpeas, beds of double-sized deeply-hued petunias and begonias and the gorgeous passion flower wafts its delicate perfume, yet I have seen all these abundant in August and in December. Today the Easter lilies scent the island and stand in snowy ranks facing the rising sun. But the lilies bow to custom and bloom as planned in the Spring. Their gorgeous cousins, the amarillas, bloom now and as well in the summer months.
The oleander, more true to Naure, bursts forth in the Spring, a mass of red, pink or white, lining the highways like a tinted fog. May will see the oleander at its height. In other seasons only a stray blossom dares to decorate the wall of green. The red and purple bougaincillea is missing in the Spring. I miss its great mass of color spread parasite-like over the tallest trees, spreading its mesh of color from branch to branch overshadowing the street.
Gradually, the tourist has learned that Bermuda is not a one-season land. Once he came only between Christmas and Easter. After that season the emptied hotels closed their doors. Today he finds some of them open through the year, for there is no time that Bermuda is not interesting and lovely. The other day I heard a fellow tourist complaining of the coolness of the evenings and mornings. I reminded the woman that we are having a cold season up at home. “But,” she objected, “when you come way down here, you expect it to be hot.” No doubt, like so many others who come here, she things she is on an island off the southern tip of Florida. She cannot know that it is because Bermuda is only east of Charleston and near the Gulf Stream, that the Colony enjoys a year-round paradise.
The summers are not oppressive like those of Washington. At noon the sun may shine as hotly but the cooling ocean is all around and tucked between the coral reefs are inviting pink or white soft-sanded beaches promising a delightful rest. When evening falls, and it really falls, for now the sun is big as a melon and a few minutes later there is the darkness of night, but when evening falls, the warm breeze which has stirred the trees all day long, now turns chilly and the tender-skinned draw a scarf about their necks.
Bermuda is damp, spring, summer, fall and winter. Bermuda of this continued dampness the Island is perpetually covered with blooms that grow recklessly in its few inches of soil. Once planted, the flowering shrubs and perennials point their roots into the porous rock and bloom unceasingly and morning glories, big and blue, compete with great yellow patches of nasturtiums to cover the untended bare spots of coral. The tourist that complains of the weather has come unprepared for the climate that makes Bermuda the haven that it is. The hardy visitor who hopefully dares to don his shorts when the sun is hidden will gladly crawl into his woolens in the morning and at night. The goose-pimpled lass who defies the time of day and too early parades with bared midrif in the damp chiliness gladly hangs her sweater over her shoulders. The wise tourist brings both his woolen and his tropical outfits, prapared for sun and shade, or for fun and dew- only thus prepared can he be thoroughly comfortable. The natives- they don’t seem to mind the temperature. Without furnaces in their homes, with fireplaces rarely used, they deck themselves in colorful cottons or wools, according to the breeze and are content. They scorn the “stuffiness” of our northern homes and fling open their doors winter and summer.
Every room in my brother’s house is bright and fragrant with flower plucked from someone’s garden. It has been thus every season that I have come. The cardinals and bluebirds yank the long stretched-out worms from the thin earth while the sparrows nop hopefully past. And the brown chameleon halts on the window-sill and turns a deceptive green while he inflates his yellow bubble-gum beneath his chin. At night the gerberas in the bowl shut up their petals like a merchant closes his blinds and the one-day hibiscus shrinks and falls, making way for the blossoms of tomorrow. Except for the tinkling of a bicycle bell, the warning horn of one of the little cars coming around a curve, or the plaintive chant of someone returning home from work, the Bermuda evening is soundless. Only the tree-toads give forth a monotonous beat. The quiet is like a blanket.
No, there is no best season in Bermuda. To the rotund high-blood-pressure tourist, the cooler seasons may seem best. The arthritic, the sinuistic (is there such?) may prefer to sun their infected members in midsummer. “To each his own.” To the normal visitor Bermuda is always a delight, always thrilling with its riot of flowers decorating its picturesque coral homes. The sky and the sea are each season the same, opalescent water, blue, green or brown, revealing the reefs below and reflecting the clouds above.
Tonight, flying homeward high above the clouds, almost heading right into the setting sun, I reflect on the beauties of Bermuda. A question arises in my mind,- why is it that so many Americans flock to the coast of Maine and of other New England states, to point or to write, when at every turn of the Middle Road of of the narrow lanes there is new beauty of homes, flowering hedges or spreading palms; when beside the stretches of the North Shore Road are heaps of ragged rocks or little coral islands, when beside the South Shore, shaded on the land by oleanders and other shrubs, is the bluest sea Nature ever enameled and between the reefs are coves of indigo-hued waters lapping little coral beaches. Where in all America can so much beauty be found? And where else can beauty with perfect quiet so impell the writer to better work? Why have artists’ colonies not been established in Bermuda? Perhaps it is because of the high cost of housing, but surely something can be planned for the creator of art and literature. Nowhere else can he work unceasingly all year through. Bermuda, the “land of rest” can also be the “land of creative art.”