It’s a Bella Luna kinda night here on Isla Providencia.
A gentle, warm sea breeze, enough to rustle the fronds of the palm trees, but nowhere near enough to break the spell of the deliciousness of this tropical heat on my body. Except for the annoying sand flies and mosquitoes, my skin is in humidity heaven, to say nothing of how the curls of my hair are responding. Some of you will get this reference: “The sun is gonna come out tomorrow!”
It’s Friday night, which means virtually nothing to me out here, but to the locals, it appears to mean plenty. It’s time to party! So what the hell, I’m all dressed up with nowhere particularly to go! I’ve got my long red-flowered, strappy Aloha dress on with a flower in my hair and that come-fuck-me red lipstick that I love. Not sure anyone noticed the ‘Come Fuck Me’ part, but no worries there, it’s bravado anyway (although I’m rocking the lipstick for sure!). There have been offers aplenty and none so interesting to me to take them up on. I’m not sure, but I think I might’ve liked it better when I was a looser woman! Nah, that’s just bravado, too, I’m just not so inclined in a one-night stand kinda direction. Not that I’m ruling it out, mind you, oh no, not ruling it out one bit. But I also know that’s when it’s Three Twins that I want and all that’s available is some knock off, store brand with ice crystals, it just ain’t worth the bother. That sorta sucks as a metaphor, but you get what I mean. Kinda. But like I said, I’m definitely not ruling anything out.
A walk on the beach, strolling through the water that seems to get warmer with every step, seduces me to jump in, Venus burning brightly above the water, the Full Moon on the other side near the mountain, shining through the coming and going of the clouds. It’s a gorgeous night, like every night here has been, like every day here has been. Never hot, never anything close to cold. It’s the Tropics. My body loves this temperature. Mid-80s during the day, high 70s at night. What’s not to love?
Can’t remember a time anywhere close to recently that I’ve moved so slowly. Every trip I’ve ever taken has been a surprise of some kind and this is no exception. The biggest surprise of all? Drum Roll please: I’m learning how to vacation. How to stop. How to let go of any kind of list of Things To Do and to do virtually nothing. To find a pace that is slow and nourishing and has nothing particularly productive or anything like accomplishing anything at all on it.
I’ve been here on the island for 12 days. I spent the first several days touring around, checking out the town (just about nothing to it), walking the adjacent island of Santa Catalina that’s connected by a sweet foot bridge and has nothing but foot traffic on it; I rented a moped, cruised around the island, all 17 kilometers of it, proceeded to crash the moped and while the bruises and scrapes were blessedly minor, I took it as a sign and ended my very short-lived moped career. I went on a boat trip around the island, snorkeled in waters the colors of which boggle my mind like every trip in the Caribbean does for me. I swam with some turtles and I visited several other beaches. I’ve eaten fish and shrimp and lobster and conch and plantains and coconut pie and an ice cream cone or two. I have an ice cold beer at sunset as I watch the sun slip into the sea. So, with all that done and behind me, there’s simply nothing else ‘to do.’
These days, I wake up whenever I do, close to sunrise since I leave the curtains of all my windows wide open to let the morning light in. I read for awhile. I remember my very active dream life and I write them down. I have some tea and breakfast. I read some more. I lay in the hammock. I walk on the beach. I stretch my body. I swim. I write. I have something else to eat. I drink an ice-cold beer. I flirt with Jerry or Raynell or Milton or no one at all. I pet the many stray dogs that live on the beach, the sweet Beagle and the small Lab kinda one are my favorites. (I bought a bag of dog food at the market tonight, so they’re in for a big treat tomorrow!) I walk some more. I take a nap. I swim in the sea again and again. And I repeat some pattern-less variety of these activities throughout the day.
I didn’t know it would be like this. I buzzed around Cartagena for my first several days and I loved it. And then, arriving here on the island, I downshifted into a way of moving that my body has been craving and I’d been moving too fast at home to notice. I have needed this deep, deep rest. And now, I’m getting it. I’m giving it to myself. Finally. I’ve surrendered. And my body just keeps saying, “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.”
Just a few more days of this island. Then back to the mainland where the pace will change again. But that doesn’t concern me now. What matters to me now is taking yet another swim before I lay this body down and giving thanks for this day, this body, this life.