I lie in my cabin watching the sky lighten, feeling the tropical air pushing across my body from the small fan overhead. After a few minutes I get up and pad quietly along the side deck to a hammock. It´s almost sunrise. The air is motionless, the sea too. Birds move between trees on the small cay we are anchored next to. I hear motion from Kathy´s cabin, and soon she is on deck in the other hammock.
Sunrise announces itself as a burst of molten yellow. In an hour it will be too hot to not be under shade, but for now the birth of this new day is all about peace and calm. Nothing is said, nothing needs to be said. The only movement will come when one of us feels the urge to make coffee.
Kathy blinks first, and the smell of druggie ground coffee coming up from the galley easily wins out against my well-intentioned instant decaf, purchased as the only decaf possibility in the coffee growing country of Guatemala. I accept my fate and succumb to the drug.
Otra Vida is anchored at Queen Cays, Belize, three tiny white-sand-and-palm-tree islands each looking like something ordered up from central casting for a shipwreck movie or an advertising shoot. We are 20 miles offshore and the water here is a few metres deep … a mile to the east of us, outside the barrier reef, it is 1.6km deep.
Belize is sometimes referred to as “The Land of No Mondays”. The calendar says it is Monday. What does the calendar know?
There´s nothing to “do” on these islands, no one lives here, nothing to buy, nothing to trade. Think or Swim … Write or Paint … Listen or Cook … that´s about the sum of it. Well, at least until cocktail hour, following which the list of options is shorter.
I decide to paint (badly) for a few hours. Kathy decides to read. Later in the day we go ashore with the dinghy. Walking the circumference of the middle cay takes perhaps a minute, and only that long because of stepping over a couple of palm trees brought down by hurricanes past. We snorkel over coral gardens, entranced by delicate purple fronds and brightly coloured tropical fish, try to frame the perfect photograph of the cay, take a rest from this exhausting day in the shade of a coconut palm, and then tidy up some of the floating plastic trash that has washed ashore on the island.
|Full moon over Queen Cays
Back on board Otra Vida later in the afternoon simple Peruvian Sopa de Quinoa heats on the stove. We resume our positions in the hammocks, reading, readying ourselves for sunset. As the sun gets lower in the sky I make cocktails and we toast the end of daylight, giving silent thanks for a day of life lived in the present tense. The air cools, the stars come out, we chat, and time stops.
Really, what does the calendar know?
“Those moments of love, freedom, serenity,
play – what power has made us believe
these are but respites from real life?”
– Charles Eisenstein