Having just last week expounded upon the notion ofÂ uitwaiien, Iâ€™ve decided this week that I need to go to Mexico, at least in my mind. Last year at this time I was in Akumal, Mexico, with my childhood best friend, who lives in Texas and whom I only rarely get to see. She works in travel and arranged a complimentary stay for us in a luxurious resort there. That trip was such a beautiful time for me. A gorgeous beach with perfectly lovely turquoise Caribbean water that broke way out in the distance, resulting in a gently lapping sparkle of sea on pristine white sand. Completely comfortable temperatures day in. I have kept Akumal as a weather location on my phone just to imagine I might be going there soon. Day after day, the temperature is around 82 degrees. Ahh.
My friend had some business to do, but I mostly lounged on an umbrella-covered chaise or a fabulous covered “beach bed,” gazing at the sea and sky. Endlessly. I found I was unable to read or nap or shut my eyes at all. I was simply mesmerized by that beautiful water and its gracious conversation with the shore. It was a meditation. When Anne and I were together on the beach, we chose not to talk all that much. We were easy with each other, as always, after all the years since we were 13. And I was perfectly content.
I came home utterly, totally, thoroughly, wholeheartedly relaxed. I felt like my heart had sprung wide open. And as often happens when I travel, I found a tiny heart-shaped mementoâ€“this time, a piece of coralâ€“in the water. I brought it home and placed it on a little table in my bedroom. I press my finger to it as I pass by. And my Romantic (with a capital R) heart took it as an omen. (Nothing to report as of yet.)
Living here in the Midwest, I long for the sea. I do. I long for it, even though I grew up here. I know many Midwesterners who feel pulled to the mountains. Okay. Gorgeous. Sure. Awe-inspiring. Yes. But not my heartâ€™s resting place. Mountains, I feel, block the view. Nice place to visit, but I wouldnâ€™t want to live there. 😉
I love a broad, expansive view, of fields, hills, woods, sky, water, any of those, with water right at the top of the listâ€“my heart opener. If I was going to uproot myself, which would be hard, as I do love the Midwestern landscape, it would have to include proximity to a large body of water.
So here I am, in a particularly bitter cold February in Missouri. I accept it, as this is my home and this is what we have here: four seasons, each with its own unique beauty. But while meditating, I often envision that beach at Akumal with its glistening water. Quietly out and back, out and back, ever and always, teaching the art of doing nothing (another Dutch word, niksen). Intruding thoughts go poof! into that blue sky, to be carried off by a gull. Ahh.
So where do you go, in your mind, when you need to escape to someplace else? What is your heart’s resting place? I hope you have one. I imagine we all do, although some wander off to theirs more often than others. One day, I hope to get my actual physical body back to mine.
If you’re looking for my cards or art, you’ll find all of that on myÂ website. And if you like this letter, you’ll find past letters and poems here. And if you know someone who would enjoy these letters, send them here!
Thanks for listening,
P.S. MerryThoughts is the name of my first book, out of print at the moment. The word is a British one, referring both to a wishbone and to the ritual of breaking the wishbone with the intention of either having a wish granted or being the one who marries first, thus the “merry thoughts.”