Kinda thinking I don’t want to be on this island anymore. Two and a half days and I’m already done with the heat and the tropical sun. The sun, the sun.
I don’t know what to say about it. From the confines of an air conditioned building it appears a thing of beauty and magnanimity, shining its light, illuminating the world, playing with the waves of the ocean, the leaves of the palm, pushing shadows slowly across the world as we spin around our axis, and the animals of the world moving in time to its rhythm. But we humans are stupid animals because we insist on being out and active even when the sun is at its zenith, and the temperatures are at their highest, stumbling and sweating through a hell of our own making. We’ve learned to combat this through fans and air-conditioning so that we may stick to the societal and cultural rhythm of our nine-to-five, or morning-straight-through-to-evening activities. Of course this is particularly true on vacation when one must wander out in all weathers and all temperatures because we must SEE things because otherwise whats the point of plotting out a time on one’s calendar and going on a vacation in a foreign land?
So, anyway, I am done with the heat, and the sweating through my clothing, and the being dirty, and the stinking, and being a stupid animal. All the same, while I’m here I should embrace being the stupid animal that I am and appreciate this opportunity. Besides, there’s no beating this opponent, and I certainly won’t be outsmarting him.
I’m day dreaming about traveling in the U.S. now, with Huyen, of showing her some of my favorite places during a summer. A cross country journey. D.C. and NYC of course, but also various places in Michigan: Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, but most importanly Leelanau County and its peninsula, including Traverse City, Sleeping Bear Dunes, wine tasting at various vineyards, the many and secret beaches along Lake Michigan, and the many other smaller lakes. And then a few days in Chicago, several days in Milwaukee, and then there is a big gap until Colorado, then California with a drive down the coast from Washington state.
It’s too easy to day dream about cooler climates than it is to focus on the goings on here. I have a little bit of work with Claudio later this afternoon, and still have to do some photography around the hostel for him. I’ve been vacillating between wanting to leave early, and staying for the full week here. But the best thing I think is to just let everything go to plan. It’s sort of like trading; I don’t like to meddle with a trade once I’ve determined a setup and entered into that trade, though often it is very tempting.
Went on a cave tour yesterday. I was the only one, strangely enough, and was quite surprised the man even bothered to take me out. After the tour and at intervals during it I had intermittent convesation with my guide about his life. Simple stuff. How long have you lived here? Do you enjoy guiding? How long have you guided? The differences between here and the other islands? His life is of such a simple purity. Watching him walk through the forest and up the hill to the cave I observed such an ease and comfort in him, and a surefootedness, the balance of a cat, the familiarity with a place, a path, from having trod it so many hundreds of times. Something I don’t ever see in the denizens of a city, most of whom are usually in a rush to get somewhere. Occasionally he would pause after a particularly steep climb, the sweat beaded up on his forehead. He would just stand statue-like but for the expansion and contraction of his chest and his head turning, listening, peering into the jungle. Maybe he would ask a question of me, or point something out, like a cicada carapace, or a honey bee hive through the branches and leaves high up in a tree, hanging there like a curtain. On our way down after leaving the cave he lit up a cigarette and began smoking as we walked down the hill back to the village, not in a hurried way, but in a manner that was aligned with all of his actions up to this point, like he was reclining lazily in a porch-chair smoking easily, watching the world unfurl itself as it continually does, minute after minute, day after day, year after year, but all those moments just one singular moment always going going going, rolling into and out of itself and my tour guide simultaneously part of it but also beyond it, simply observing it. The double helix of a strand of DNA—life on one side, death on the other, inseparable, together all the time and for all time.