Each wave wipes the sand-slate of the beach clean, the skittering paths of fiddler crabs and sweeping brush strokes of detritus smoothed over and erased. The cymbal-crash of each wave sounds over the dull roar of the distant surf, and the rasp of the wind rustling the palm fronds flutes above it all. The breeze catches the sail of my hammock, and it rocks lethargically.
For the human spirit has a primal allegiance to wildness, to really live, to snatch the fruit and suck it, to spill the juice.” – Jay Griffiths
Getting the hammock stretched between the coconut and the palm tree had been, well, a stretch. Both leaned out over the embankment — the drop to the beach below not so daunting as the porous rocks and chunks of coral stacked directly below. When I’d secured it at last, I leaned onto the fabric while anchoring myself to a tree. Committing my weight to the silk-like fabric, to the slender ropes on either side, was an exercise in faith. The ropes creaked about the tree trunks as I made myself comfortable, and I did my best not to think of the rocks below.
Now, stillness in paradise.
Not of the world, for everything around me seems to be moving. But a stillness of the mind. I realize the danger below (the rocks) and the danger above (the coconuts), but I am suspended weightless between the two. Safe.
The massive fronds of the trees arch over me, individual leaves wiggling as they tickle and are tickled by the wind. The warm breeze from the sea fills my little nook, caressing my cheeks and filling my nostrils with the salted musk of the sea. Fifteen meters offshore, bobbing on a cerulean wave, a turtle breaks the surface to take in a gulp of air before submerging for another extended dive.
I see all this, hear all this, smell all this… and the euphoria leaves me light-headed. Work, taxes, worry… they all seem an infinity away — as far away from me as I am from home.
Another wave crashes, and even more tension sloughs away. Break by break, wave by wave, I feel myself being remade.
Far away at the line of the horizon, where the yawning sea meets the endless sky, a line of billowing clouds scuds past. A reminder of the storms which have passed, which are to come.
But on this island — this paradisaical place set apart from the ebb and flow of the world — the sun shines. On this beach, the waves are gentle and lulling. In this hammock, there is peace.
I pick up my book and set to reading again.
How about you? Where’s the last place you felt a stillness of the mind? Share in the comments below!