Opening words . . .

Sunday, 28 March 2010

As I tilted my head upward, the small needle fish came within the scope of my goggles’ view. The small yellow and white striped fish with slashes of black vertically cutting through its eye dodged back and forth in front of me, not quite sure what to make of me. The little guy made assertive efforts to pass by me, but each time backed away. He reminded me of me.

I really like to think of myself as assertive and take on my seeming adversaries in honest but non confrontational manner, but in the end my timidity voluntarily backs me off.

My new job seemed at the time to be the answer to my well worked out job hunt. Three months in and I knew I was responding like the little yellow and white striped fish. My new boss agreed to my request for a week vacation only a couple months away - we both needed it already.

We, hubby and I, booked five days at one of our favourite spots and a day on either side for exploring our way to and fro. We knew Cozumel airport to be a cakewalk compared to the brawl at Cancun. Cozumel was sane probably because those who knew better preferred bypassing the Cancun holiday-takers who typically considered vacation to start after customs clearance with alcohol as their party theme. Our daughter stated that it was the trial of her vocation as a flight attendant to serve drinks to Carribean vacationers.

It was good to arrive at our hotel, but I knew it would take a bit to relax. There would be the usual stages of highs and lows until real calm set into my soul.

The first low came along with the boiled eggs and muffins for breakfast mixed with the diversity of visitors and their cultures. I wasn't ready for the people part of nature yet. The female part of a British couple was answering everyone's questions we weren’t even thinking yet. It was immediately annoying and I was tempted to thank her, I supposed, for saving my brain the extra effort of thinking, but that her babbling was taxing my ears. It was the non-people part of nature for which I realized I was craving.

From the rooftop of our rented house, I scanned the top of the Mexican jungle. The twisted wispy clouds I had come to recognize after serveral trips to this country, as common to the Mexican sky. Our first day was ending with a pink and blue sunset, in perfect shades for a baby shower.

The shore was a mapwork of colour. A pelican broke nature's quiet with a dive and his lunch was served up and absorbed in one fell swoop. The tide swept out leaving lumps of turtle grass to endure the sun until the tide's predictable change of mind.

The grey herring stood peering, stretched against the ocean’s horizon. The green and then, blue stripes of the water made each look deeper in hue. Local fishermen in power boats buzzed by, their voices reverberating like speakers across the waters.

The horizon crested with white waves. The pelican flapped its oversized wings on either side of its oversized bill. Bands of deep green sidled up to turquoise ones and then on to indigo divided by white caps. The gold and army green turtle grass flickered making sunstars on the water. And the sky was blue – so blue. Clouds gave up and blew off to the side.

Someone reported on lion fish skulking under the pier. Even I knew they shouldn't be there so I figured they should know they are not wanted. I had been doing okay with my self inflicted challenge to snorkel in deeper water, until I was informed that lion fish as well as stingrays hung out closer to the shoreline parameters than I had expected or rather hoped for.

At dinner, the unshy British lady's sidekick wore an apologetic expression to balance her opinionated approach. To have my dinner described by another voice in real time as I ate each bite was getting unbearable. She had a way of giving her opinion, while at the same time, allowing one to believe one is coming to one's own evaluation at the same time. It is a tricky endeavour, but effective until one catches on to what is happening.

“They really like their cinnamon and nutmeg, don’t they,” she expressed at the same time we all partook of our first bite of American apple pie in our Mexican resort. She had already expressed her abhorrence of the only spice she could not abide – ginger, which had been the significant flavor of the main course. I had been enjoying the dish until the bite by bite commentary in that popularly appreciated English accent was distilling into monotone despite the lilts.

Apparently my annoyance also punctuated the atmosphere, of which I became aware the next morning at breakfast. Not that the Brit had figured it out, but the tattle-tale Southern Belle must have mentioned my eye-rolling expressions of the night before. Oh well. Way to go. I justified my actions by being tired and not in the mood for it on my first night at the place . . . Doesn't everyone need a break on vacation?

The week moved on with repetition of each day before. That was actually a good thing. The loveliness of it all penetrated my mind's callouses, flowing through to my very bones soothing and making way for the stress, which insisted on coming on the journey to kindly leave.