Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Malformed Dolfin

The surfers are out there on their boards, riding the waves sideways.  Not my sport.  Mine is to leap up just as a wave crests and dive over it, toes pointed as I disappear into the water beyond.  Over and over.  Or to be rolled sideways in the wave, enjoying the dizziness.  Or to dive under the wave and luxuriate in the bubbles all around me, tickling my skin everywhere.  I like it when the crashing wave pushes and pulls different parts of me in different directions.  I let the wave have its way with me.

I also like to ride the wave backwards...  that is to say, while lying on my back.  I catch it as it crests and shove off with my fins and ride along the top....

My fins.  There.  I said it.

Way back in, was it 1974?   I have the journal, kept in a zippered tote bag, stacked with all my other journals.  I could look up the year.  The bag is on the closet shelf in my newly claimed project-room  (guest room to you).  Written in that journal is a list of.... well hell, even though I was still in my 20s when I wrote it, it was my "Bucket List."

Last time I checked it -- in 1992 -- I saw that I have done everything on that list, except swim with dolphins.  Sensually,  up close and personal, that is.  

I've had this desire for such a long time.  It was reignited by the enchantment I saw in the eyes of a friend who had just returned from swimming with dolphins in the wild.  It was 1988.  She  spoke of it in soft hesitant tones, now and then closing her eyes to re-experience it.  "It's like making love," she whispered.  "They circled around me, gliding gently against my skin, my front, my back, my arms, my legs -- and then dashed away, then returned with a teasing approach.  One female kept rubbing up against me, displying her slit, slightly parted, as if inviting me to enter her.  It was....  I was...."

You can understand why my having paid $75 in New Zealand to share a very cold-water swim-tank with three captive dolphins does not count.  The dolphins never left the bottom of the tank.

Later, I braved the depths of a Hawaiian cove where a friend of mine -- she lives there -- said she swims with the wild ones, calves included.  The couple of days that I tried it, there was not a fin in sight.

And now here in Mexico, where I swim daily, I've yet to see one...  And so...  I swim like one.  I make pure love to the ocean.  We play joyously together every day.

The ocean is very forgiving.  Well it knows that my fins failed to form correctly and that my tail mysteriously bifurcated, but it pays no mind.  I am simply a malformed dolphin.

I am a malformed dolfin.  No es doloroso.

"...gone to flinders."

A flotilla of pelicans had settled on the shallows above the coral.  Where the coral gives way to a seabed of sand is where I settled in.  With my boogie as an armrest, and the ocean up to my armpits, I was there to simply be nearby, to watch.

I've been a watcher all my life, but am re-inspired by Craig Childs.  Read anything he's written, and listen to him on NPR.

Closer to shore was a small army of barechested nationals, splashing about, so I was hardly deep in the wilds.  Worse, one young man took an interest in me and crept ever closer, staring....  From the look on his face, he seemed slightly retarded if not outright demented.  Just then, I sensed, and then saw, another guy creeping up on the other side of me, looking equally demented.

"What are you guys up to?" I cleverly blurted out in English.  They both turned away, back to their own kind.  I looked around for a sane-looking man who would be their counselor.  There was none.  All of them must simply be drunk on a Sunday afternoon.  Shortly after, the lads all launched into a hearty game of keep-away, or aerial soccer, in the water, and my pelicans drifted farther away over the coral.  Rats.

Then.... a wave!  A rogue, ridable boogie'wave.  I went for it, sporting my own demented look... because this wave would take me right through the middle of this cacophany of young men.  No matter that I missed the wave.  The following series of breakers cleared the lads out.  

I was now alone with the pelicans, as well as the hovering cloud of small local seagulls.  With no one but me in the water nearby, the flotilla drifted closer, and I remained quiet, observing.  I liked how one pelican -- instead of holding his long neck vertically with his long beak parallel and pointing down to the sea -- how this one pelican lay his long neck down along his back, with his beak resting atop that long neck.   Ahhhhh.

Then came the black underwater cloud advancing rapidly towards me in the deep green sea. Ever closer, the water transformed into a roiling leaping frenzy of tiny silver fish.

I was surrounded.

I was at Ground Zero.

I was at the apex of my goal.

The white cloud of small gulls was suddenly directly overhead, swooping and scooping up the fish all around me.  I was in the eye of a hurricane -- green, black, silver, white, blue -- all in swirling motion, water and sunshine all mixed together.

And, but one breath later, came the pelicans from above.  One after another, they plunged headlong from some calculated height, into the sea all around me.  They dove in "with all the grace of an orange crate gone to flinders."   Source:  Robert Dana, in his poem, "Fog."  Here is the stanza from which I quote:
…the gliding pelicans with their great 
beaks and bags, and the broad cape
of their wings, and that incredible collapse
into the sea, a dive with all the grace
of an orange crate gone to flinders…

Thursday, May 14, 2009

"Love in the Time of Swine-Flu"

Full credit for the clever title above goes to Jude Gardens who coined it as he officiated at Josh and Morgan's wedding on the beach. The full moon in April just happened to coincide with the warnings of the deadly pandemic swineflu. Yet here in Paradise, while some guests panicked and hid in their U.S. homes.... for example, there was a gap where the two attendant bridesmaids were to stand..... yet and still, it sure looked as though EVERYbody ELSE came. Ilianet's restaurant area was filled with guests who flew in despite all the hoopla. The Maid of Honor stood in her place by the Bride, and all the Groomsmen were there beside the Groom...

And best of all, everyone in the bridal party, while dressed beautifully, were--all of them--barefoot in the sand.

It was one class act from the large flowered arch framing the waves, under which they took their vows, and the white cloth covering all tables and chairs elegantly, to the flowers everywhere, and including the reallygood food and drink. Great live music by a locally hired group of fine musicians, dancing into the night. The First Waltz, well, they are one star-struck couple. What can I say. It was romantic.

Jude, who is also the groom's brother, was warm and welcoming and funny as he officiated the wedding, and by gum, he even gave away a glimpse into the courtship of Josh and Morgan, including (and I quote) "He used the the best pick-up line that he could muster, 'Wanna snuggle?' "

And, just like the ending of the book, "Love in the Time of Cholera," we are all still here on this beach while the panic of pandemic pandemonium swirls around us, not touching us at all.

NEWSFLASH: For those of you following my ongoing updates on little Luis who I knew before he was born, and then who was simply abandoned by his overwhelmed mommy, and who was so traumatized that he still doesn't have all his speech skills in line at three....... My little next-door neighbor who comes over for his big hug and swing-around and kisses all over and then free time to play with all the toys I have on the shelves, and who loves to lie on his back while I play the dulcimer....

....He has been adopted by his mommy's cousin and is now living in Zihuatanejo. He now has a mommy and a daddy and two sisters in a nice house. Daddy is involved with a garden nursery and mommy is a professional schoolteacher specializing in little kids, and I think I heard that she runs a kiddie nursery. I bet she has the patience and skills to help him learn to talk... as well as introducing him to all the other gems of early childhood, but most especially a mother's love. He got to hang out with his new family awhile before he went to live with them, and was very happy to be with them... This adoption by a relative does sound good. Other villagers nodded to me that they are good and loving people.

Meanwhile, the surf has been consistently big and steady. The other day, Robert went to the surf-waves and I to my boogie-waves, and neither of us emerged from the water for just about nearly 5 (five) hours... but who's keeping time?

Thursday, May 7, 2009


Still soul-stunned every day on the beach---sunseasandsurf. Great waves for surfers, great waves for boogieboarder (I'm still usually the only one out there in the short stuff).

Now-- add in a daily party at Ilianet's restaurant. (Jojo and Katrina, you may recall Josh and Katya from that first year here at the Little Salty Place, camping in the jungle by the river). Josh is getting married to a beautiful and vibrant young woman, and all of their two families are here (swineflu be damned) and ALSO, Josh invited Katya and her beau to come over from Maui. There are guys skilled on guitars singing all the 60s songs every afternoon and it all spills over into the night every night. The wedding is on SaturdayMay 9, full moonish. Come on down, there's always room on the sand.

Point of gossip: most all of us regulars here have moved on down to Ilianets, since Guero is lord at Lourdes'. Even our delightful friend -- who happens to be a Vietvet whom no one can push around -- has had it with the man who is just spoiling for a big fight. All is Aloha'spirit down the beach.

Point of delight: my little love, Luis, is now one happyhappy child with beaming sparkling eyes, confident of himself and of his place in the village. Playful, responsible (as in cleans up after himself, putting his toys away when he is done) yet boyishly prankish. He delights me.... comes RUNNING up our driveway calling to me and if I don't pick him up and swing him around, covering him in kisses, he will stand in front of me and remind me puckishly. He'll disobey me just so he can get picked up and tickled back into line. He remembers and learns quickly and understands all spoken language, and has a much bigger vocabulary than his one word, "Ya!" (meaning "There!) that he had our last visit. But he is far from fluent as a speaker. He has his OWN words for things and they seem to be consistently used...

Point of description: our humble casita is lusciously surrounded with flowering bushes from bougainvillea to copa de oro to roses to "margaritas" of many colors. And the mango trees are bent to the ground with ripening fruit. All of our other fruit trees (self-sprouted from spit seeds by folks such as Peter and Jojo and Katrina and Melissa and the like) are growing rapidly and well.

Point of impatience: Robert has had it with this town trip and wants to pile back into the car and get back to being stunned in the surf and the sun, so what to say...

All is well, more than well, so comfortable are we with our village friends and the kids and the beach and all.... Closing for now. Sayonara as one village friend always says.