I awake on my back looking up at a white ceiling fan; but not the same ceiling fan. The breezy sound I can hear isn’t coming from the gentle wind lifting palm leaves outside our open window; it’s the sound of heated air flowing through furnace ducts. And the rhythmic rushing sound isn’t waves of surf on a sandy beach a few yards away, but the peaceful snore coming from the other side of the bed. I am home.
No more red tile floor of La Casita Sombra.
No more being awakened by
the trill and squawk of jungle birds,
no more quiet days free of
unwanted conversation and responsibility.
No more sand between the toes.
But I’m so glad to be back.
Being a gringo is a challenge
even when the locals try very much to be helpful.
I look through the photos and the stuff in our suitcases and think of the Parable of the Pebbles.
A man was walking along the beach in the evening when a voice said to him, “Pick up some pebbles and put them in your pocket, and tomorrow you will be both happy and sad.” The man obeyed. He stooped down and picked up a handful of pebbles and put them into his pocket. The next morning he reached into his pocket and found diamonds, rubies and emeralds. And he was both happy and sad. Happy he had taken some—sad that he hadn’t taken more.
I’m happy to have the precious memories of our amazing adventures and fun experiences; ecstatic that no disaster or calamity happened; and grateful to return to find all well with home and family. But still I’m so sad. I'll miss Akumal.