All good things must come to an end. Not just good things, ALL things - good, bad and indifferent. In this case, it’s a good (a very very very good) thing that is ending in the form of our almost month-long vacation. Ahhhhh. So, here I sit, enjoying a cup of coffee, lubricating my brain and my finger tips and watching the waves on the Isle of Wight Bay at our friends Monty & Sara’s. It seems the weather changed over night from hot and somewhat muggy to cool and glorious. The breeze is perfection, the color of the sky just right, the feel in the air is early autumn. Fall has officially regained it’s position as my favorite season. It was bumped temporarily as I grew to crave summers in Colorado but after this wildfire season, fall is back on top. So thanks, fall, for showing up. I hear the final percolating exhale of the coffee pot signaling the arrival of more magma. I will rise for that right now but not much else. With mug in hand, I am ready. For something. For the next moment, at least. So, what am I really ready for? Thoughts swirl through my head. We return to Colorado still without a plan. Things are brewing and plans are emerging but now the layers upon which other layers depend are not clear still and our plans remain without definition.
Peace and I met on a sandbar today. Not just any sandbar mind you but a sandbar in the middle of no where on an island connected to no thing. I stayed with her for a while. Quite a while, even. I knew she would leave me again (or I would leave her) but we enjoyed our time together. We moved the boat away from Staniel Cay yesterday. Even though we love Staniel, it is still civilization. Internet is slow and challenging and a little too easy to find. And, there are more people around so we can’t just hang out naked which is the best way to be in this humidity. Arriving at Twin Cay yesterday was paradise in the midst of many paradises. As we approached, I saw what I thought was a diver popping in an out of the water. Not seeing a boat in the vicinity, I kept my eyes peeled and pointed to David. He quickly realized (as a former marine biologist) that our visitor was a solo porpoise making its way through the cove. A very nice welcome. We dropped anchor and swam with the gentle current. A little later we snorkeled to shore watching the sandy bottom slowly pass us by. The island can’t be bigger than an acre with a stretch of white sand beach and the rest rimmed with a coral shore. Iron shores is what they call them here. Run a boat aground on that and chances are it won’t ever float again. We strolled down the beach to the end where a tidal pool awaited us. The middle of the island is green with even a few shade trees - short shade trees that is. Without a hat, I didn’t want to stay too long and knew we could come back properly equipped. The sun is scorching hot down here. Cloudless blue skies, white sand and bright blue water send light in all directions. As a Melanoma survivor, I cover up as well as possible. It’s inevitable that I get a little bit of sun but always discourage people from telling me I am tan. “No, not tan, don’t say that...” Sometimes I spend time worrying about death by Melanoma. But it seems I spend time worrying about most things. If there’s a way, I will worry.
On an island, far far away from any mountains that remind me of anything to do with the awful forest fires that consumed our state and turned my life upside down, I received an email from a kindred spirit. She wrote, “I stumbled upon your blog when I was researching PTSD and forest fires. I was looking for anything that would tell me I was somewhat normal in what I was experiencing.” She goes on to tell me she lost her home in the Waldo Canyon fire and thanked me for letting me know she wasn’t alone in her devastation. This many miles away, I was compelled to write and tell you - I needed to hear this. I send my words into the stratosphere and wonder whose hearts I might be reaching. I keep writing anyway as it is my therapy and expression. I risk writing the same things over and over and boring my readers. I risk my heart and soul as I bare both. I feel my feelings and question if I am “normal”. I still have some (not many, but some) people in my life who think I should be moving on by now and that the depth of my emotions are concerning. I internalize their judgment (and, yes I know, it is born out of love and concern) and judge myself. Not that I needed any more judgmental voices to model as I have plenty of my own. I should be... I shouldn’t be... should should should. Here I am in paradise and I shouldn’t shed a tear. Being in paradise I should always, every moment of every second, be grateful. I should realize that this too is my life and I should marvel at the wonder of it all. Always.
Last night was my first night on the boat after waiting eons to get here. Well, maybe not eons but it sure seemed like it. Lifetimes anyway. Waves woke us up, heat kept us up, waves then lulled us back to sleep, then rain woke us again early. A sleepless night on the lovely sailing vessel Pixie Dust beats a sleepless night anywhere else. This morning, we made our French press coffee (with cardamom, of course), then I began putting the too much stuff that we brought away while David did some cleaning - then took off in search of monster lobsters. Now, I sit with fans blowing, music cranked, finally beginning to enjoy what will be a much needed hiatus from our world. My first entry into Pixie, I went straight for my clothes I had left here and burst into tears when not only did I discover one of my favorite Levis jean skirts but also a pair of Lucky capris I was convinced had gone up in flames. Tears turned to sobs of relief, exhaustion, and dare I say joy to be on the boat. Here, we have a routine. Our 5th (or is it 6th) trip since we bought this precious boat two years ago this month, it doesn’t take long to get in the groove. The biggest concerns are where to anchor to avoid disrupted sleep due to tide and current changes, where to refill water and fuel, and avoiding running aground. Of course, boats always have something that needs to be fixed but David digs that stuff. Maybe, we don’t need to repeat our last adventure when we did run aground then began to take on water. Turned out to be unrelated but disturbing none the less. After two days at dock, we didn’t sink, David solved the problem and after a massive clean up - we were back in gear. Hopefully, this trip will be a bit smoother.
Our much awaited trip has begun. So many people asked if we were excited. Of course we are. And, it is much more complicated than that. We are excited. And, we are exhausted, burned out, done. After months of responding and reacting to our new life, we don’t quite know how to relax. We silly humans have the expectation that once on vacation relaxation will just happen. It depends on how wound up you are, really. We were (and still are) wound tight. Exhaustion hangs in the nooks and crannies of our being in ways we don’t even realize yet. David hasn’t really stopped this whole time. His travel schedule has been hellacious as he commuted to Seattle regularly and worked on the most demanding project of his career. Our brief stop over to be with my mom will carry some work hours for me. I am talking to a handful of clients to get them set up for our time apart. And, David and I need to work on our inventory with the now fading goal of turning it in before we go. And, I still had the goal of turning in my re-write before wheels up in Ft. Lauderdale on Thursday. Hmmmmm. I definitely don’t know about that one. My cohort Ellen is on a tight deadline, working on chapters, sending to me with the plan that we work in tandem towards this goal. She edits, I accept or rethink and rewrite. She adds prompts for me to write more. At this moment, I am not sure I can do it. Have I mentioned the exhaustion? Lying in bed this morning, I thought about grief. For us folks not grieving the loss of a human, we don’t really have a rule book. Yet, we exist. And, we grieve. And, we question whether we are doing it right. In ways, I feel more raw then ever. Thinner skinned, more sad, certainly more disjointed as we pack yet again and wonder where we will land when we return. Wandering around my mom’s house I see mementos of her life and of our life. Gifts I have given her, pictures of us, cards and letters - and objects that she has had as long as I can remember. This is what it looks like to be in a home filled with memories.
In four days we are on a plane to Florida to commence our 26-day odyssey of recuperation and – let’s just say it – escape. We need a break. We need to get away from here. We need breathing room. We need rest. I need it. And, I believe, my husband needs it even more. We hit another dead end with our building process when we discovered that once again, the plans we had been working on since May were over budget. This was, to say the least, a major disappointment. What we hoped would be a smooth process has been a heartbreaking one. Now, having lost 2 months in the building process, we leave town with no plan, no start date and quite unsure of the next step when we return. And, we need to let it all go. Our attorney pointed out in his Yoda way, that we are operating more out of frustration and less out of logic. I absolutely agree. The frustrations that are part of normal life have become exaggerated and the fire caused frustrations seem monumental. We are breathing and counting down: 4 more days, 4 more days, 4 more days.