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God's Blue Oyster
We rumbled away from the chaos of civilization to find a dirt road, which we took for miles and miles, passing sixty-foot cacti and farmers with their big hats and skinny cows. And then, like an eternal desert flower, the bay opened up before us, an oyster presenting her shimmering pearl. We bumped up in our stout pickup to a white walled open courtyard with a mahogany doorway. Radiating through that living picture frame was the gift of El Dorado, not a Golden City of precious metal, but a blue living sea of gliding rays and flying fish.
We exited the pickup truck with awe, then moved through that lovely doorway to descend a widening simple stone staircase. With each step, we cut the marionette wires that connected us to technology, to the hectic world driven by telephones and obligations, computers and deadlines. Each step brought us closer to freedom. And with each step, we waded further and further into that blue divine, until we were alone together, free.
The caretakers greeted us with their whole beings, their smiles radiating an unchecked joy. No words were needed to communicate their welcome as they swept away the rain from a past storm, then brought us cans of cool apple soda.
We scrabbled over rocks as large and smooth as watermelons to reach the sea, and when we clamored onto it with our kayaks, it was still but alive, rolling with a serene electricity that filled and emptied our abdomens with its breath of life.
The kayaks were our gateway to Shell Beach, a secret stretch of sand where all the creatures had tumbled themselves to create a carpet of shimmering shells, a sort of Seashell Cemetery, only beautiful. And with each wave, a new shell rolled onto the beach to die and become the mountain.
On Shell Beach, you do not find shells; they beckon to you. It was there that I heard a deep call, a sound so old its whisper just ruffled my ear. The call was older than the mountain, yet human. As my heart was abducted by the call, I recognized the source was an arrowhead, orange and translucent with red veins, a thumping stone heart carved 1500 years ago by ancient Indians. With each beat, the chiseled heart seemed to pump the dying shells into the living mountain, creating life out of death.
Beneath the liquid blue glass, a manta ray zoomed like a living torpedo, breaking the speed limit. But there were no cops lurking in this paradise, only a kayak full of curious kids. We tried in vain to keep up with it, but in one second it vanished.
Splash! We knife into the water, eager to see the legendary mermaid pools under the sea. They are orbs of life, bursting with colorful fish and scuttling creatures, each one unique.
By ponga we reach the cave paintings, so ancient and secret only ten people in the world have seen them before now. They are only reachable by water, and we have to crawl on our backs to see them. I stand there in awe, imagining the ancients marking their lives on the walls, not imagining they would last through the ages. New dirt and rocks block the way further in, telling us that even more paintings lie buried beneath them, their secrets untold.
We zoom home, the delicious scent of grilled fresh dorado illuminating our path through the sea mist. All nine of us sit around a square table that groans under the weight of our feast, lovingly prepared with local ingredients by hands tenured in the ways of cooking. We pass around heaping bowls of beans and rice and green salad, laughing as we drink blue ice tea and cool sweet horchata.
With night comes sleep. We ascend the mountain to our beds, climbing the stone steps once again. We think not of deadlines or homework left undone, but of cool beds and a warm tomorrow. I am complete.