When the heavy of my days begins to weigh me down,
when the layers of gunk pile thick upon my skin,
when the hurry, the miscommunications, the forgetting and the remembering,
when the troubles and the worries and the sorrows and the pains,
when they reach that moment,
yes, you know it, too—
I reach for my bag, string my arms through its loops, slip my bare feet into my flip flops, and off I go.
What begins as cobblestone turns quickly to dirt. I rise up with the hill, turn a corner to pass a grove of mangoes and then, like a tunnel burrowing its way through a mountain, I enter the jungle. The air is rich, thick, heavy as steam. The glossy greens drip with moisture—ferns and philodendrons, coconut palms and strangler figs. Insects hum, a bird twitters its delicate, tropical tune, and if I am quiet enough, I can hear the breathing of the jungle itself. Soft and gentle, as regular as the tide, it breathes in and out with a deep-sleep innocence, with a careful, conscious peace all its own. My steps slow, my heart warms, even my knees loosen. How did I not know my knees were tight?
And just as my own consciousness begins to rise throughout my body like bubbles from the deep, I hear the distant crashing of the surf. A few more strides, just over the ridge, and there she is, the view with a gift—the scent of the sea.
My eyes soften, my lips smile, my body turns fluid even before I reach her shore. This is right, this is good, this is where I am meant to be. I drop my bag and leave my shoes and sundress in a heap upon the sand. They know I will return. I always do. But different. She comes back different, they like to say.
The water licks at my toes, teasing me, inviting me in to play. I slink in slowly, wanting to enjoy every second, every caress, every tender touch to my hungry body thick with heavy from the weight of my days. But soon, I have walked as far as I can; I am immersed, almost completely submerged, held with the soothing arms of the sea. I dive deep, my long hair tickling my back. It’s just me and my sea.
And afterward when the sun begins to set and my casita calls me home, my body emerges with a lighter step upon the sand. I don’t use my wings. I didn’t leave anything behind. I don’t even remember what it was that once worried me. But it was something, I am sure. Yes, something. I run my fingers up and down my sea happy skin. It’s clean and alive, shiny and smooth, and it breathes with a fresh, unhurried pace, a pace I now remember and reclaim as my own.
And as she looked down
with a clearer eye
and a wiser heart
she couldn't help but see
as it puddled at her feet.