I had been awake for less than ten minutes, yet I was already having a gratitude overload.
In comparison to my own bed at home, this creation underneath me better resembled a cluster of clouds. It had engulfed me so quickly last night, I couldn’t even remember my last words. Or my last thoughts. But I was pretty sure, it had something to do with home.
I fell asleep with my window shades half drawn; and now, I could see the fluffy marine layer floating above what looked like a prehistorical forest. They stretched for miles — these dense clusters of clouds — blocking the sun, yet dissipating quite quickly; and they slid through the tops of this quirky flora: Palm trees amidst ancient pines decorated with some dainty lime-green growths that looked like the hair of mermaids.
(Um, ‘scuse me: But is this where nymphs and pixies come to play?)
Right past this playground of magical creatures, the Ocean stretched for miles — into the horizon, from where the fluffy marine layer seemed to be crawling. Around here, the waves were untamed by piers, or any other signs of humanity’s collective ego; and they were gigantic. The Ocean thrashed against cliff rocks, modestly populated by idillic homes. No two homes looked alike, but they inspired a stream of thought that I couldn’t pinpoint last night. But then again, I was pretty sure it had something to do with home.
All throughout the day, the Ocean roared and hissed; and at night, it sang a chesty lullaby about the opposite shores it had licked on its way here. The glorious monster was intimidating — and endless! — and only the fluffy marine layer could have known where it was coming from; or where it ended.
There was one small patch of land where I could approach it closer, on foot, without having to climb down cliffs. I had to walk in shoes, though, because the beach was covered with moonstones and sea glass. No sand.
(Um, ‘scuse me: But is this where Aphrodite spilled a chest of her jewelry?)
I did try to get my feet in the water. Having climbed over a lagoon circumvented by seaweed and lily pads, I kept my eyes right on the horizon, from where the fluffy marine layer seemed to be crawling. On the opposite side of this calmer pool of water, young boys were taking turns swimming to shore. One of them reminded me of my son: a brown, fearless rascal.
At one point, my hand slipped off the rock and I tested the water: It was warm and velvety.
(Um, ‘scuse me: Is this were the sirens come out to gargle their throats and soothe their tired vocal cords.)
On the other side of my climb, a family of brown people started running to the shore.
“Look! Look!” the fearless rascals were ahead of their adoring mother, leaping over the moonstones, pointing at the shiny surface right past the hissing, crashing, foaming waves.
The Latin face of their father meant business, but he did soften a little when he saw the skin of my exposed stomach: I was just about the same color as his woman.
I too began moving in the direction of the migration, looking right at the horizon from where the fluffy, now scattered marine layer seemed to be crawling. The water closer to the shore was playing patty cake with sun rays; and the entire surface seemed as luminous as a mirror.
(Um, ‘scuse me: Is this were Neptune finds his reflection while brushing out his graying beard after having breakfast?)
With my eyes, I followed the direction of the tiny brown fingers. But all I could see was: The Ocean playing patty cake with sun rays, right into the horizon. The fluffy layer had dissipated almost entirely, and only a couple of feathered brushes reminded of its short existence.
But, oh! Something had just jumped out of the water — look! — and it curved its shiny back. But before I could figure it out, it blinded me with its shine and dropped back into the Ocean.
Then, there came another one! And yet another!
“Dolphins! Dolphins! Look!” the brown rascals seemed beside themselves, leaping through moonstones and sea glass, pointing their tiny brown fingers at the glistening backs.
The Latin face of their father meant business, but even he softened a little at the sight of all this glory.
I never reached the water yesterday. Instead, I stood: mesmerized, blinded. All along the cliffs behind Moonstone Beach I could see idillic homes. No two homes were alike, but every one — was lovely.
My own home: Not the home I have now, but the one I was about to find elsewhere in the world. And I was making a bet that it would be on a shore very much like this one: Where dolphins could play babysitters to my brown, fearless rascals; and where every night, the Ocean would sing them chesty lullabies about all the other magnificent shores it licked on the way here.
My run through a wildlife reserve didn’t last for longer than thirty minutes, yet I was already having a gratitude overload. Every sign of life left me more and more exhausted with excitement:
The single otter that surfed on its back through the roaring, hissing, crashing, foaming waves made me laugh every time its nonchalant white snout resurfaced above.
The boisterous chipmunks with focused faces were making a meal out of unidentifiable scraps they found in the layer of succulents. I thought of the way I had always eaten apples: with their core, sometimes using their stems as toothpicks, afterward. Would my brown, fearless rascals inherit my quirky ways?
And oh, how magnificently the red-tailed hawk soared above! Every time the wind picked up, it negotiated the flow with its black, oily wings; then kept cutting through the air.
What fearless grace!
And in the field of dried weeds, a couple of dogs were beside themselves: dashing back and forth between their adoring masters and the rest of the untamed life.
I had been in this town for less than a day, yet I was already having a gratitude overload; all thoughts — leading home.