Once or twice a week, I go out on a paddle boat to nearby coves. I now have this golden brown color, a far cry from the pale skin I had when I got here almost eight months ago (and I sometimes pretend I’m a surfer girl, though there is no surf whatsoever wherever near.)

My calloused hands are a small price for what I come out for. The brown skin or the muscles I am building are not the rewards; rather it is the rare moments I catch whenever I am out in the open. The simple overwhelming feelings of the small memories I gather and keep in the recesses of my mind. Those that are mine and mine alone. It is the stillness of the turquoise waters and the gentle swishing of my hands in it. The whispering kwssh sound of the paddle as it goes out of the water and water rushing against the outrigger. It is not getting to wherever we are going in the absence of any feeling of [rush]. It is feeling so right to just be still, to just be. It is resting my paddle and lying down to watch the clouds, with the boat unmoving, more tranquil than floating on my back in water.

It is watching big great waves rushing towards us, being in the midst of turmoil yet feeling unthreatened, safe with the knowledge that we are going to get home. It is the rushing of wind against my face, looking out into dark grey waters and dark grey clouds blowing away. When you’re out there in the middle of billowing waves, feeling like you’re alone and everything is so unsafe, yet feeling comforted.

No camera can capture the shimmering of the waters under the sun in the distance. It is only in my mind I can record how I sat in the sand under a flaming orange tree and felt so free and so happy to be witness to things as such.

The sound of hundreds of small fish swimming in the water, crackling, tingling.

Staring into the water to gaze upon clumps upon clumps of corals brown against the white sand, and the green waters with gleaming white stripes of the sunshine on the surface of the water.

The butterflies flying with the wind, across kilometers of water.

It is swaying in a hammock under the shade of a tree and a purple sarong billowing in the wind.

It is falling asleep with the wind in my face, the sun in my closed eyes, curled in the sand.

Written January 23, 2006

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Originally posted here.

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