I want to know what it means to face the sea from the west coast. I want to be south of the border, maybe in Baja or perhaps somewhere else in Mexico. More to the point, I want to be someplace where time takes a vacation. The world takes on a tropical appeal and all else is simple and easy, like an offshore breeze through the palms along the shoreline. I want to face the blueness of the Pacific and search myself for a moment of calmness. All the while, I could be soaking in the sun – and the waves could tumble into the surf, the world would be behind me and I would be miles away, detached from all the hustling cars and cabbies, and light years from the loud intrusions of a place otherwise known as civilization.
I want to find myself elsewhere and cloaked by the sun and covered with the scent of suntan lotion. I could see me this way, standing in my best tropical pose; a pair of sunglasses pulled up on my head to hold the hair from my eyes, a tan glow to my skin, and maybe there’s a nearby hammock for me to rest upon with a little coconut to drink out of – and of course, this would come with the obligatory chunk of pineapple, a tiny drink umbrella that perches from the top of my coconut drink and ah, that would be nice.
I would imagine the food would have a different taste at a place like this. The prawns would be great. The fruit would be delicious and the fish would taste like nothing short of heaven.
I think of the names of places and then I consider my connotation with them. Take Paradise Island for example. This is a real place and there is something about this place which I connect to an unknown time and an unknown vacation.
I say this because I only know about this vacation through pictures of my Mother and Father sitting together at a table, tan as ever, and well-dressed as if to enjoy a fancy dinner at one of their resorts. I always wished I could have spoken more to them about these trips. But for now, I allow the pictures I have to act as a great representation of what I believe is true – this was a moment in their paradise and, as of now, their current address is even more scenic and peaceful.
While I don’t know much about their trip that was here on Earth; other than somewhere in my arsenal of memories are a few pictures that are stored away in a box of family memories; and it is here where I like to think about where they are now. I use these pictures as a means to imagine where they are now (my parents) and what their realm of togetherness might be like in the lands of forever after.
Be that as it may, I’d like to venture away from this thing we call civilization, which by the way – the definition of civilization means the advanced state of human society. This goes with a high level of culture and science, industry and government. To be civilized means to have an advance nature of the above, such as culture, social grace, or to be well-bred and polite.
I think of these definitions and how they seem to be a contradiction of terms because while it could be said that we live in civilization, these are hardly civilized times and if we look around, we don’t always seem like civilized people. Therefore, perhaps the best place for me (or us) would be somewhere beyond the tip of civilized life. We could shed our layers of skin and be undressed or undecorated and, simply put, we could be scaled back to the purity of a moment. We could be untouched by the intrusion of humankind or the so-called man made natures of industry, business or the subways at rush hour.
I like to think about the story I was told of a writer who made his money and moved away from the world as he knew it. Instead, he bought an island somewhere south of where our imaginations rest. He ate fresh fruit at noon and then he enjoyed a massage. Then he fished for a while. Maybe he ate some. Maybe he lounged in the sun for a while. Then he’d write. Then he’d relax. Then he’d eat dinner, have another massage and then he’d go to bed and do the same thing the next day. I like this idea.
If given the chance, I think that I could do this. While I understand this is not realistic for most, I can imagine the small boat on a dock. I can imagine the house. I can imagine the warmth of the sun and the feeling of sunbeams as it brushes my skin to a golden tan. But wait, there’s more.
I have read stories about people who decided to sell what they have and then move to places where white sand beaches are plentiful. There’s palm trees. There’s fresh fruit. There’s the wealth of the sun and the warmth of the climate. There’s never going to be another snow storm again. There’s no such thing as Covid or Covid restrictions nor do they have to worry about certain outbreaks or upticks of a virus.
There are times when I think I can do something like this. Move away, I mean or become an ex-pat. Then there are other times when I see the colors of autumn. I can smell the leaves in the air. I can feel the chill coming as the warmth of summer recedes like the ocean after it rushes to the shore.
I’m sure there are beautiful things south of the border. I know there are beaches like the one in my mind, secluded as ever, quiet and perfect to be undressed or uncovered and alone.
However, there is something to the seasons and something to the warmth of butternut squash that’s been mashed into a creamy soup.
There’s something to be said about the features of crock pot remedies that warm us in the winter and fill our bellies.
I like the idea of a fireplace. I like the idea that as cold as it might be outside, there is a way to recreate warmth inside.
Still, I want to find myself away from the world in my tropical paradise. I want to find myself happily detached and tanned, smiling about the fact that work is not pushing in on me and that, for the moment, I can solve all of my problems with a swim in the ocean and a bowl of papaya.
Maybe I could be like that writer and find a place where I can fish for my dinner and enjoy the moments behind the sun; so I can rest more, so I can write more, or so I can feel more and live more.
I do not mind the dichotomy of my fantasies. I don’t mind the differences in seasonal bliss nor do I mind the seclusion of someplace where there’s no one else but us – so we can unwind and relax, rest and eventually return without the burden of life on our shoulders.
I once met a man who explained that he and his family went on vacation in Hawaii. He told me that after seeing the most beautiful place in the world, he went home, sold his house and his business, and two weeks later – he and his family moved to the Island of Maui.
So here’s to him, my new best hero. Here’s to those who refused to take fear into consideration. Here’s to those who decided to follow their dream and detach themselves from civilization; to be less civilized or at minimum – to be happy.
Here’s to you all . . .