Friday, February 29, 2008

'Round Midnight



It’s just past the midnight hour and likewise bewitched I arise from a deep sleep to find that outside there still remains an overwhelming blanket of blackness that obscures the thin line of horizon between the sea and the sky. The ocean-going vessel that carries me is barreling headfirst into the last remnants of a late winter storm. The lambent light of moon and stars is shunt by this storm that rages across the sky - stargazing and navigating must wait for another evening. The night air is sonic with wind shear and the purl and roar of waves. The ship grinds and rattles as it careens through the storm and sleep is cut short – I rock and sway in my cabin with a delightful giddiness – in this roller coaster ride I am a child again. When I close my eyes and free my body to move with the motion of the water it is not difficult to imagine the nine-month passage in my mother’s womb. I rock once again in the boughs of her tender love.

Despite the winter war waged by the weather - the behemoth vessel cuts a firm and steady swath through the chop of water like an artist’s hand drawing a fine line across a crisp paper map – dissecting longitudes and latitudes as we travel away from the narrow isthmus of Central America toward the Florida peninsula. Tomorrow out of this murky darkness, Cuba will rise out of the ocean – inviting but untouchable. I will cling to the railing awash in sea-spray and watch for her rise out of the sea and ache to know her terrestrial beauty – so close, yet so far away.

Earlier this evening, from the flat light of dusk emerged a flotilla of gunmetal gray clouds racing across the horizon careening toward the equatorial waters of South America. Clouds are still flying south for the winter. Where are the equatorial breezes that will send them and spring sailing back? In Belize today I saw a fat restless scarlet tanager bouncing from tree to tree and was reminded of the promise of that not-so distant spring. I’ve read that spring travels 15 miles a day – I calculate when the tanager might finally arrive to the place on the map I call home and I decide its not soon enough. I too am restless for spring’s return. No matter where I travel in the world I remain always grounded in the landscape and geography of my home. Despite my tropical location tonight – I am very much aware that winter rages on where I live and I wrap this warm air around me like a sacred blanket and carry it back home in the hopes of finally freeing winter’s bitter grasp.


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