Today I spent the whole day dragged down and wrapped up in words likegovernance guidelines script apology inconvenience infection deadline remorse exit notify meh necessary error message
My day was shaping up into a depressive haiku.
About 5:15, I gave up (or as I call it “threw my f*ck it flag) and left the office. Walking back to my car, I passed a patch of tea olives and the scent tapped me on the shoulder. “Pardon me? Miss? The world is lovely and it’s right here.”
A new word popped into my head: waft.
I smiled…just a little. The tense muscles around my face rearranged themselves gladly. More words: smirk, moue, whimsy.
The sun pattering down through the oak canopy warmed my cheeks and I thought of another word: dappled.
A sleek squirrel scampered across the pebbled path. We locked eyes–gazed–for a fleeting moment, then he was off.
I stopped there on the path and filled my mind with better words…aroma dawdle meander respite breeze soar lilt lark arc swoop horizon rooted heady
Then I continued on my way. Rejuvenated. Replenished. Refreshed. Hopeful. Satisfied.
What’s the most beautiful word you know? The most peaceful? The word that makes you stand still? The one that gets you going?
See this hotel? This is The Reefs and it’s one of my favorite places in the world. It’s the place where I discovered that Bermuda really does have pink sand, right there on that pristine, private beach. It’s where I learned to take tea at 4pm every afternoon on that veranda overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. It’s where I learned that fish make a lot of noise underwater. When we snorkeled around those rocks, right beside the parrot fish and the yellow tangs, I heard a sound like Rice Krispies just after the milk is poured on–the sound of fish nibbling on the coral reef. It’s where I learned that you NEVER tell other travelers what you paid for your vacation because it turns out that we paid about 20% of what other people had paid to be there!
It’s also where Richard gave me a piece of advice that I remember to this day, especially on Sunday evenings when my brain is turning towards Monday.
“Mope on the plane, Ashley. Mope on the plane.”
We were sitting in two of those cushylounge chairs on the pink crescent of beach. It was our last day of vacation in Bermuda. Seven days of pink sand, conch fritters, evening dances, afternoon tea, scooters, Dark and Stormy drinks in the hot tub, kayaking, snorkeling, and wishes made under the moon gate. Our flight wasn’t until later that afternoon, so we had stowed our bags with the concierge in order to spend every possible minute on that beach. He was enjoying himself. I was pouting because we had to leave. It wasn’t fair–other people were just arriving. Other people had another week to go. Other people came to The Reefs EVERY YEAR. Some people even got to live on Bermuda. But not us. We had to go home.
I wasn’t talking much. I was nursing my hurt. The only conversation I seemed capable of making was, “I can’t believe we have to leave.” Finally, the man who could shrug off most anything pulled his head off of the rolled up towel he had made into a pillow and said, “Ashley! Mope on the plane! You are wasting precious moments of THIS on THAT. I’ll talk about leaving when we’re in the shuttle or at the airport, but right now….NO.”
I think that’s pretty smart stuff for a Sunday night. How much of life do we spend moping while we’re still on vacation…metaphorically? How much Sunday gets eaten up with dragging our feet towards Monday? How many days do we grind through in anticipation of vacation? (I know I am right now…the count is 26)
So now when I want to stay present in the good times, I remind myself to “mope on the plane!” Even these days, when my passport has expired and I plan vacations around things that can entertain a toddler. We spent two beautiful vacations at The Reefs–once for spring break and once for New Year’s. I was lucky to have pink sand between my toes, even if I had to come home eventually.