Tuesday, October 19, 2010


This exercise required that I write about a series of arrivals at different places-with no other explanation of how I got there.


My breath caught as we came upon the island. It was all luscious greenery, pure white beaches, and crystal clear water. The scene looked like it belonged on a postcard or a movie set. A rainbow even stretched from one end of the island to the other. I knew I should find it hokey and cliché. In reality, the paradise inspired awe in me and it would be my homed, at least for a few days.

Natives crowded the length of the dock. I learned that I had arrived on a national holiday. I overheard one man as he complained about the absurdity of celebrating the birthday of a monarch, who lived on the other side of the Earth. I had figured he would be happy to have a day without work but he wanted independence instead of a vacation. I could respect his sentiments.

I stopped on the dock and watched the sunset with the natives. Then we waited for wild dolphins to approach. They came to this beach every night. I paid for the privilege of feeding one. The researcher gave me one fish and explained that the dolphins could touch me but under no circumstance was I allowed to touch a dolphin. Up-close, the dolphin was not that special. Nothing I imagined. The dolphin ate my fish and I walked away feeling under whelmed.


It seemed like I stood on top of the world or at least on a step that lead to the top of the world. I looked down into the deep crater beside me. I watched the group descending its step sides until they became ants and I wondered how they would ever make it back out. On the other side of me were more mountain tops. Clouds filled the space between this mountain and the others. Someone near began to sing a hymn and I understood why the native tribes considered the mountains sacred.


The outside of the marea intimidated me. Red angry faces covered the wings of the rooftop. Still, my hosts had invited me inside so I bolstered my courage and walked through the door. More angry pagan faces were carved into the walls but what surprised me were the cross and the portrait of the Virgin Mary that hung from the central post. It made me realize that the past cohabitated with the present in this sacred building.

My hosts waited for me at the front of the room. I greeted them according to their custom by bumping my nose against theirs twice. This intruded on all my perceptions of personal space but not participating in such a greeting would have insulted my hosts.


I walked along the cobbled street that led me from one city square to the next. Occasionally, a horse and carriage passed me. As I stared up at the historical homes bordering the street, I felt like I had gone back in time. There was no separation of past and present in this city.

I rested in one of the squares and took in the wonder of it all. Spanish moss hung from the ancient oaks. A statue loomed in the center of the square. In a city like this, every branch and stone whispers their stories to anyone who knows how to hear them. I closed my eyes and I listened.


I walked down the streets of another city. This one was all concrete and asphalt and very much in the present. The bright neon lights chased away the darkness until I all but forgot it was night. The crowded busy streets left me feeling alone and homesick. I needed something green and natural to sustain me.

Then I stumbled upon the park. There was so much wild greenery here that I got lost in it. I did not mind losing my way. As long as I was with nature, I would survive.

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