It’s 6:30 AM, the sun is blazing already, the ocean is calm, flat, tranquilo. Close your eyes, can you see me? I’m the only woman on the beach and my eyes are closed to and you know what? I’m thinking about you. I can’t keep my eyes open for long because my pupils are still adjusting to the glare over the Caribbean. I just rolled out of bed, threw on my bathing suit, forced contacts into my sleepy eyes and walked across the street to the beach. I’ve got red bottoms and a black top bathing suit on. I’ve got my faded purple and green sarong that I use as a towel, a big tear in it now from yanking it off of a wooden post it was hanging on. I’ve got my light purple flip flops, given to me by a friend in Mexico. Miraculously, they fit me despite the fact that they are a size 4/5 when I am a size 7/8. Stranger things have happened, so they say. My hair is the longest and curliest (and probably blondest) it’s ever been since I chopped it off when I was 16. It reaches my shoulders and the feeling of hair brushing my back is still a sensation I’m getting used to after 15 years of having short hair.
|Sunrise in York Beach, ME|
I have never started my day by swimming in the ocean. I’ve watched plenty of sunrises in my 30 years on this stunning, vast earth. Numerous times over the ocean in York Beach, Maine, the Nubble Lighthouse silhouetted in the far distance. Once on top of Mt. Abe in Lincoln, VT, the chilly pre-dawn wind plucking the strings of the alpine trees. Another time on a kayak in the middle of South Lake in the Adirondacks, hearing loons call their sweet, haunting melody. In Tulum with my friend, Ann, over the Caribbean sea, the humidity already making our sleepy bodies sweat. But never have I swum so early in the morning. It’s delectable. I’m not overhearing snippets of fellow beach goers conversations. I’m not applying sunscreen for a several hour stint of beach lounging. I’m simply here, now, solo and it’s a warm sense of pure calm.
|Sunrise in Tulum|
I’m a fire sign and I find absolute comfort and tranquility in staring at a campfire blaze outside, especially when a coal splatters against a rock and it appears like a city looks from an airplane at night, tiny little lights bursting over a dark surface. It’s no surprise then that I also need water in my life. I need it as a constant. Thriving, breathing, flowing, living bodies of water, be they rivers, lakes or oceans. Water is the opposite sign, it creates equilibrium in my being. When I’m having a rough day, I retire to the water, when I’m having a great day I do the same. This morning, I am starting my day with the ocean. I wade into the water’s ebullience and let the current take me where ever it wants. I float on my back, I dive into waves and I sing to myself. If you read the post before this you would know I often refrain from singing aloud when others are present but this morning, it’s just me and a sweeping view of el océano. I sing bits and pieces of Peter Gabriel’s, “Washing of the Water,” a different version though, one that my friend, Joe, from high school, plays. I love it and it fits with my swim today, even if half of it I am just humming.
In thinking about this quest for water in mi vida, I realized for the majority of my life, I have always lived near a body of water. Growing up in Pittsford, NY, outside of Rochester, there was Lake Ontario, as well as the Finger Lakes. In Burlington, VT there was Lake Champlain. Even in Auckland, New Zealand where I lived for six months when I was 21, there was a harbor. And now here, as I write this, I’m listening to the lullaby of the sea, the constant rolling, plummeting, incessant dim roar. Sometimes I think about a distant future, one is which I will no longer be living in Latin America but I will have returned home to Rochester. I think to myself that I will have to find a way to afford a home on the lake. I am so spoiled here with water as a constant, how could I ever live without? The soothing energy it creates, the sound of rain on water, just seeing it day in and day out is enough even if I can’t swim in it.
|Playa Chaquita, my favorite beach here|
|Full moon rising over the ocean in Tulum
I wish you could have seen it in person
The photo barely does it justice
What is it about water that alleviates us? Is it because we are created in warm, liquid goo in our mother’s bellies? Is it because we are more than 60% comprised of it? Is it because the endless sound of something we find mollifying fixes us at a cellular level? We are habitual creatures and we are creatures of comfort. Do we simply find something in life that brings us peace and cling to it like a spider clings to her web? For me, it is water, even more than fire. Watching the sunset or sunrise over water for as long as I can remember. Watching the full moon rise over the ocean, my favorite kind of natural light on water. And of course, listening to it.
And now here I am, it’s 6:30 AM and I am bobbing and weaving like a boxer in the teal water. This might be the best way I’ve discovered to start my day. I’ve got a great song in my head and I’m smiling thinking of you. Thank you ocean, thank you earth, but most of all, thank you.