Random Thoughts; Some Senseless, Some Beautiful
Today is my last day at the Luna Palace. This week I have intensely soaked up impressions along with sun, sand and surf.
Bird Island has gone from brown to green with our few modest sprinkles. People assure me the rainy season is around the corner. Birds at my feet inspire contemplation. When I breakfast by the pool, the mourning doves diligently search for crumbs, pounding their beaks onto the tiles. Do their beaks wear out? Do you suppose when they snuggle into their nests at night, we might hear, “Not tonight honey. I have a headache. Hard day on the patio.” When I breakfast under a palapa, I watch pelicans dive headfirst into the surf. What keeps them from getting their heads stuck in the sand? Somebody has to think about these things!
Sadly, I watch young and not-young walk along the beach with ear buds pumping music, drowning out sounds of surf, while their eyes are glommed onto an electronic screen, fingers on keyboards. Do they know where they are? Thumbs seem to be the principal means of communication. Innovations swing to the beat of a pendulum, from one extreme to another, banging both walls. I trust that the pendulum will swing to a center of balance before we lose our senses of sight and sound and human warmth.
In the weeks I have been here, all the guests are couples, families or groups. I am the only single person, solita. I am alone but not lonely. I talk and laugh with employees and beach vendors selling blankets, baskets, hammocks, silver jewelry, and coconuts. Everyone, housekeeping, waiters, and groundskeepers, knows my name. I’ve no idea how it happened but I have become Cassandra Juanita. Yesterday one of the housekeeping staff, who speaks not a word of English, but we greet one another daily, took me aside, gently parted the leaves in a tree to show me a nest with mother dove and two tiny babies. You can’t get that level of communication with a tweet.
This morning I watched tragedy averted. Two women with their quite elderly mother had settled under the palapa next to mine. We exchanged greetings. They took their mother out into the ocean and supported her while she floated. I felt shamed because I am scared to go into the water past my knees. If I fell, I don’t know how I would get up. I’m not a swimmer.
Mom came back to the palapa to rest while the two sisters swam and played. They are good swimmers. Distance is deceptive at low tide. They swam too close to the rocks by the jetty and were caught in a rip tide. One of the women panicked. Her sister swam to her side to help. The tide carried them further from shore. Both floundered and screamed for help.
Two young lifeguards plunged into the water, closely followed by two beach vendors. People on the shore audibly prayed. The energy felt intense. The swimmers seemed to stroke in slow motion. But the men arrived in time, brought the women to safety and into the grateful arms of their mother; a reunion celebrated with glad tears.
One of the beach vendors is teaching me to play conquin, a card game. We draw an audience to watch if I will win or lose. I tell them, “He cheats.” They say, “Look at his face.” He grins. Some mornings, when I am lucky, I win one out of three hands. Then I grin.
Every day I walk in the surf, careful to not go past my knees. But I get caught by the occasional aggressive wave. I stand still until it passes. I would like to throw caution to the winds and dive in, but I don’t.
Now and then I have moments of fear. I like to follow my fears to what I imagine as “worst possible scenario”. The latest one culminated in being disabled, on the dole, warehoused in a substandard nursing home, medicated to keep me quiet, cold, alone and friendless. Then I got the giggles. One cannot laugh and stay afraid.
Speaking of worst possible scenarios, I am constantly cleaning my glasses. I’m sure it is the salt air, not my encroaching cataracts. I am terrified of surgery. I can’t even stand to have Dr. Obie, a saint of patience with me, put the puff of air into my eyes. There is no way I can sit still for surgery. So I devised a solution. The doctor can have the mammogram machine wheeled into surgery, clamp my head between the metal plates, duct tape my eyelids open and laser away. Clever, I thought. Someone has to think of these things!
HDN: Looking out my back door
June 26, 2014