Returning to the Bahamas, Part 1

Have the mosquitos emerged from the cool crevices of brush and rock to scour the beach for hemoglobin pulsing cells? Has the sun disappeared over the wrinkled blue plain like a melting dollop of peach sherbet? Has the aerial canvas pulsed through different hues and set down at last in dark indigo? Or does lightning stretch behind cloudy mist like flaming veins? Has the wind blown the mosquitos deep into the brush and pounded the permeable canvas of a distant traveler’s tent?

During the last night on the white sand beach of Rat Cay I made a promise that I would pause and recall the archipelago each evening from my dorm room. I believed that by recalling the soft lime beaches, lush mangroves, milky way swirl, and even the sand fleas that I would find refuge from the monotony of school. I thought that I might regain perspective forcing myself to remember that no matter the intensity of a situation here on campus such an undisturbed detached world existed still. I would be able to confine my energies to one sheltered community. A group of my peers, NOLS guides, and a smattering of dark sand fleas bore witness to my pledge.

In the few ( I must admit) times that I have actually remembered and engaged in this exercise I have found all of these hopes to come relatively true. By watching the sun melt behind white pines from the crumbling window panes of my dorm, I am able to transport myself to the shallows of birthday beach in front of the very same sun. The setting or rising of the sun is a unifying experience as everyone within close time zone can witness the same spectacle regardless of the mountains or seas that separate the two. Anyways, if I’m keen enough to even remember my pledge these days, I mostly just recall one memory I wish to relive again. Except for camping in the Namib Desert, this moment was probably the closest I have come to witnessing the intersection of earth with the rest of the universe.

To be continued… (Part 1 of 2)

-David Shepley

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