Sea Kisses

It’s been one of those days spent embroiled in fantasy to escape the storm.

A friend of mine called me and told me to get up.  Now.  Get off the couch.  He gave me specific directions.  Drive 1.4 miles up the street from your house, past the condos on the beach, and park at the white gate.  Walk down the rise to the water and get in.  I don’t care what you’re wearing just get in.

I followed instructions.  Walked through the hole in the gate and down the drive to an abandoned foundation of a house reclaimed by the sea in Hurricane Ivan.  The drive has long been eroded away with holes and eaten edges now claimed by bur grass and sand.  There was a single family to the East and clear beach to the West and, still unmoved, I sat down.

My friend, as though stalking me on bbm, said “ok now Bushy, get in.”  But there’s a family in the only spot free of grass!  “Swim out past the grass.  Just do it.”  And so I did.  But not far.  Half-sitting, half-floating in 4 feet of water my body began to relax.  Tension eased out of the shoulders as they let go.  And then I saw it.

I stood up straight, shocked to see what looked like a head sticking out of the water about six feet out from me.  Relieved to find sand beneath my feet I shot up about 2 feet out of the water to see better, and then thinking better of it, I clambered to shore.  Squinting out with concentration I watched for it again.  And there it was!  And  another one!  I asked two little girls walking the beach if they saw them – did you see that?!  They looked at me and smiled at eachother in agreement (this one’s nuts).  When I turned they had disappeared.

From the height of the shore, when they reappeared I could see better the graceful animals as they came up for air and dove right back down out of sight before anyone else could see them and believe I was anything but insane.  When I was alone again they came up for longer periods, eyeing me as they swam across my view back and forth, their leathery heads and the hint of a shell sparkling as they broke the water.  My heart just about burst with a smile, looking at my fellow Caymanian creatures swimming in waters that our ancestors have shared for generations.

Seeing them and feeling the connection as our eyes locked, I walked back into the water with calm and a singing spirit.  To any onlookers I must have looked a fool!  A woman up to her neck in water blowing kisses and singing to turtles no one else could see.

New Ray Rising

My birthweek is over and a new year in my life has begun.  It was beautiful, this past week of rest and no obligations.  I had some very special moments.  Setting up my back patio with my dad, shopping for new plants and pots with my mom.  There was a good long snorkel with my cousin Joe along the reef where he and I spotted a massive lobster hiding under a coral head and two huge trumpet fish as well as the usual suspects.  I got a kiss from a stingray at Stingray City and chocolate wine and beer schnaps from some of my dearest friends at the party my parents hosted.  There was the hanging of my new hammock and the arrival of family members from overseas.  There were dinners and lunches with friends – I am blessed with truly amazing ones – and a Happy Birthweek call every day for the whole week until the big day from my big brother mentor on the other side of the Caribbean.  Monkey came back from Honduras to dance with my all night long to “I’ve had the time of my life” by the Black-Eyed Peas. (Two-year-old loves to dance!!) I had pig-ear salad for the first time after thinking of trying it for months.  I planted out flowers and tomatoes with a friend of mine and we made my patio more of a jungle than it already was.  There was grilled conch, conch soup, Cayman-style beef, carrot cake and chocolate layered cake, my mom’s macaroni-and-cheese (like NO other) and loads of lovely drinkies.  I had an Eat. Pray. Love. moment with my jeans and a sunburn-turned-tan my girlfriends in London would pay good money for.  It was drama-free time, restful, full of love and beauty and sleep.  Just what I had hoped for.

And more.

God sent me two special gifts, just for me, that made me smile and whisper up to Him “thank you Father for delighting in me!”

The first was a rainbow against a dark cloud on my birthday.  The only one that week.  I had rolled out of bed to be greeted by Lola and Julius (Did I imagine it or were they giving me kisses in more of a frenzy than usual? Could they know?), to leash them up, throw on a pair of shorts and some flip-flops, don a baseball hat and go out for our usual morning walk.  We three stepped out into the cool morning air and they tugged eagerly on their leashes.  I looked up and there she was… my promise in the sky.  It said “There will be no flood this year my darling Bushlings.  This year you will be happy.”

And then there was the ray.  On our snorkel trip we made a stop at Coral Gardens, said by our boat captain to be 8-10 feet deep.  We had figured out early on that 8-10 is his favourite range of numbers – he used it on all three stops.  One was maybe 8-10, one was surely 6-8, and this one, Coral Gardens, was definitely closer to 12.

As we swam silently over gorgeous coral heads of many colours just teeming with a rainbow of little fish my cousin Joe and I would take the occasional dive to the bottom, exhaling little bubbles to equalize and get up close to the waving purple and yellow sea-fans and yellow-striped Sargeant Majors.  He and I drifted to the outer edges of the gardens, more experienced with fins and snorkels as we were the only islanders on the tour, and we got to know the lay of the ocean floor.  Coming to the surface we’d make sharp spits out the spouts of our snorkels before continuing on.  On one dive down, a good 8-10 (or 12) feet, I looked out of the gardens and into the open sea and caught a fright.  Joe was just out of reach and I couldn’t grab him and show him.  But hovering gently, just about a foot off the blue-tinted white-sand ocean floor was the most graceful ray I have ever seen.  He was very black with pointy wings and a very long tail.  Not your everyday stingray, this beauty.  Oh no.  This was an Eagle Ray.  He rose gracefully to the surface before my bulging, goggled eyes, flipped his tail and disappeared.  I could feel pounding in my ears and I rose my head above the water spitting out the mouth piece and yelled EAGLE RAY!

But he was gone.  There were no less than 50 people in the garden that day and no one saw him but me.

The closest shot I could find on the internet of the amazing view I had.

Porvenir

True to Sod’s Law, my last morning in Honduras is beautiful.  There is no rain and no clouds cover the sky.  The blue beyond is startling today after so much rain and the air is clear from the inordinate amount of water flowing over the past few days.  Finches are dancing in the grape-vine and from limb to limb in the guava tree.

Monkey is fast asleep even now.  She didn’t get to nap yesterday at all but was up playing all day.  She may have caught five minutes in my lap on the way from Porvenir.

Yesterday afternoon Nena loaded us up into her four-wheel-drive and took us to see Myce’s property in a town outside of La Ceiba.  The rains had already let up and the path to the property was slick with mud.  At one point, Christian stopped and pointed out the hormigas.   A line of leaves marched in constant succession and had me squatting down and squinting to see the busy red ants below.  It was a long line of walking leaves and I took a picture to show my naturalist brother at the next opportunity.

The young man who cares for the property was in the door of the little hut when I caught up with three little children all under the age of four with dirty faces and curious eyes.  Mahogany trees and a tree with a flower much like a frangipani and almost as tall as a Ceiba tower over the property with cooling shade.  Below them, nature thrives in all its rainforest glory – plantains in a worshipful circle and coffee trees, starchy roots and pregnant vines.  It is a living bread basket.

Next we were off to the beach at Porvenir.  The Rio Porvenir was swollen and beautiful, flowing beneath the glassy surface with fierce determination to the sea.  It wasn’t muddy at all but clear giving the view of the river rock below.  This junction of two powerful waters is a tranquil tourist destination, quiet now in the slow season.  Thatch roofed huts line the riverside and the sand is the colour of ash.  Nena described for me the scene in the summer, of tents and a great crowd of campers who cover the beach like ants, of vendors selling all sorts of food and wares.

But on this day it was quiet, shared only with us, a father and with his child out on the point, and three fishermen in bright coloured windbreakers, rods and reels up in the air.  A canoe, a Honduran dory, slid down the calm river and completed the idyllic picture.

My spanish is improving with every day that I pass here.  Nena des not speak english to me but is patient with me as I process.  Last night I dreamed in spanish and woke to thoughts in Spanish!  Immersion really works!  The children and I understand each other much better now as well and Christian teases me as he teases Fiore.  As for Fiore, she is my little gallina and gives as good as she gets.

From Porvenir we strolled around the mall, had a meal, and bustled home.  Everyone readied for bed and Bo and I sat up late with a movie while Nena took in the night air with a final cigarette.  Coming to the door she invited me to join her with un tragito de ron (a little drink of rum) and see the rain-free sky of La Ceiba.

Where the Rio Porvenir meets the Caribbean Sea

Skipping Stars

Today she found out who she was
and what a fool you are
to waste the dream you chanced upon
when you stumbled on a star.
You picked it up with awe
figured… nah… it couldn’t be
and like a common pebble
you skipped it out to sea.

Out on the open ocean
the ball of flame still burned
shining further from your reach
you felt your stomach turn.
The damage is now done-
too late you realize
the best thing ever in your hand
just vanished from your eyes.

But the star burns on and brightly
as it floats out on the sea
and shores and boundaries give way to
endless possibility…
The star inside her thanks you
for throwing her away
to a place where she could grow
to the SUN she is today.

Found some of my scribbles that I’d tucked away somewhere.  Will probably post them here and there as they come to me.  Not to worry, I have not gone back on The Resolution!  Just a few reminders here and there why I made it in the first place.