Monday, January 25, 2010

heart. beat.

There's a tiny starfish drifting in the water swirling past my feet. I am standing in the front yard of my house in Chuburna, looking at the vast ocean, the unending horizon. The delicious blue sky melts to lilac where it meets the water, and right there where they join is a band of dark blue. How far can that be from my front yard to where the water turns to cobalt? And how can that same water, rushing toward me from the endless horizon, become such a delicious, sunwashed green? Verde is the Spanish word for green, and it sounds just right for this color. Verde. Verdant. Divine.

The starfish has ridden the waves from the deep, its tiny spark of life adrift somewhere in the ether. Next to the starfish, my toes are buried deep in the sand. I stand here in the light surf, feeling the waves washing over my feet. Each incoming shuuuush feels like a breath, and the outgoing waves make a sound like an exhalation. I also breathe in, and exhale, standing here in the middle of my dream, rooted to this spot, my feet fully buried now in the sand. I can't even feel my heart beating. I feel part of these gentle waves, of the sun overhead, of the sand washing around my feet.

I flew into Merida after dark Wednesday. The cabin lights were out and I watched Yucatan appear out of the night sky as we approached land. Twinkling lights strung out along the coast glowed in welcome, and it felt like coming home after a long absence.

I noticed for the first time in weeks that my heart was beating slowly. North of the border, I am plagued with a skipping, racing heart beat, a beat that has been examined and tested and assessed over and over. It is nothing, this skippy beat, nothing but stress and too much coffee. Destress, the doctors say. Avoid caffeine. But my life is nothing but stress. Stress and exhaustion and caffeine to keep going, to push beyond my limits, to endure; thus the beat, as if my heart's trying to escape, to lead the way out.

But here, in this place, on the coast of a country not my own, I feel at peace. I can take a deep breath and feel it all the way into my belly. My heart beats like a metronome, a slow and steady tick tick tick.

Standing in the surf in my front yard, my feet rooted deep in the sand, the waves are rushing around me and the wind picks up. There are electric flashes of white light in the sky and I make out tiny birds rushing in from the north. There are hundreds of birds, white ones, with flecks of black, and they're making little chirring sounds, soaring, swooping, and diving.

Pelicans have come, frigates are soaring overhead, and I am laughing out loud with the joy of it all. This ocean, this beach, the water, the birds, this house, this life, this place I call home. I can't help but laugh while my heart beats with the rhythm of the waves. I can hardly believe it, but this is my life now. I thought I was stuck but somehow, magically, this is my home, will be my permanent home by November. And on this magnificent day, I am here, standing in the waves in the front yard of my house. The tropical sun warms my head, and life feels fine, very, very fine.

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