Say Anything

It has been 10 months since I last came through this way. My previous dispatch had me playing the part of a fierce invalid, on her way home soon from a hot climate. And I did come home, and just as quickly, I was gone again. Then back. And then suddenly it was summer, and then fall and now the wind is howling outside and the fire is roaring and I’m sitting here by a snowy sea trying to remember all the things I’ve wanted to say.

It has been difficult, wait, no, near impossible, to say anything. I’ve struggled so much in every facet of my life over these many months that I can’t get out of my own way. I’ve tricked everyone, including myself, into believing that my world is round and the water is fine.

But it hasn’t been. For too long now I’ve been smattering the pages of Facebook with beautiful photographs of sailing and sunshine and a life so extraordinary that it couldn’t possibly be true. I’ve been editing my own existence right down to the very image I wanted you to see. A sunny, smiling, curly-haired Siren, who wanted for nothing but a little wind and a little extra lime in her rum. It’s all I’ve wanted since this whole mess started. It has been really, really dark for a while, and there aren’t enough limes in the world that can fix the bigger problem. Cancer doesn’t just go away when the sun comes out.

So, the short version of the long story is that no sooner did I arrive home from an incredibly cathartic few months in Mexico, that I was off to the French West Indies to work as a set photographer for a soul-squashing Bravo reality TV show. I returned, exhausted and exasperated, to endure what had become an insufferable existence of interminable anxiety and debilitating pain. I couldn’t think straight. I couldn’t work. I could barely get up and down the stairs. I spent all of my energy trying not to fall apart, and even more energy trying to hide it. After everything I’d been through, I couldn’t reconcile such a compromised existence. Broken, hurting, and so ashamed of my seeming ungratefulness for my own heartbeat, I did the only self-righting thing I knew how to do and cast myself off, as far out to sea as I could get for as long as my ship could hold me, and begged the constellations for mercy.

I scared myself nearly to death.

And then a very dear friend realized something was very wrong. And she couldn’t have been more right. It was the damn chemo. The very thing that was supposed to keep me firmly planted on this side of the dirt, was killing me. And so it was that I declared quality over quantity, flushing the pills down the toilet, and never being more sure of anything in my life. Oh, if it were only that easy, that final. No. No. The steep price of living a little longer was to hand over my future and relinquish my ovaries. And the only thing I’m certain of now, is that I’ve made it to Forty.

40.

And so here we find ourselves. The very last day of another year. And if all of this comes as a terrible surprise to you, then allow me please to beg your forgiveness. Please. I have not been as open and honest as you previously have come to know me, my sudden silence a sure sign, you say, that I have stolen my own boat and cast you off in exchange for a better life. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. I am suffocating under the weight of all the things I haven’t said and the truth is, I’m tired. Tired of talking about it. Tired of explaining myself. Tired of being sick. Tired of being sad, frustrated. Tired of being tired.

So let’s consider this a clearing of the deck, a promise that in 2013, I’ll be a straight shooter. Honest. If I need help, I’ll ask. If I’m tired, I’ll tell you. The fog is lifting, it’s getting brighter in here every day. And after two very long years, I am finally starting to surface. But I need a little more time to catch my breath if that’s OK.

ali-gosport8.26With every exhale comes the most heartfelt gratitude for your continued patience, love and support. I’m going to keep my promise to you and keep on swimming.

Keep on swimming.
Swimming. Swimming. Swimming.
And eventually, tell you everything.

 

Jungle Fever

I got it. And I don’t mean I love this place so much I get all hot and sweaty thinking about it. Well, I DO love this place so much, and by design, it’s pretty hot and sweaty here, but no, I am sick, in the jungle, and it sucks.

I started to not feel so great last week, but I kept pushing. There were new beaches to explore, palm groves, Mayan ruins, and cenotes to swim in, new friends and late nights, and oh the list could go on and on. I haven’t been still for a minute that I’ve been here. Which has been the most wonderful feeling after spending so long having to sit most things out. But as I suspected that at some point I would, I am paying dearly for it. My achy limbs and scratchy throat have over the course of the the last week turned into a pretty feverish case of strep that has proceeded to wind it’s way to my middle ear, and into my eyes. I forget sometimes that I just ain’t my old self. It’s easy to do around here.

After 3 attempts the day before and a half dozen phone calls yesterday, I finally found a doctor that would BE at the 24 Hour Clinic that doesn’t actually seem to have a doctor there at any hour that I could figure out. The visit started with the doctor having to switch from Facebook over to his “reporting” software (MSWord)… Ya, so, he really was a doctor. Really.

I’ve spent my fair share of time in foreign medical establishments and contrary to what you might have in your head as the picture of a 24 Hour clinic in a 3rd world country, the place couldn’t have been more gleaming. I mean SPOTLESS. The doctor and I had a little chat in half Spanish, half English, and we concluded that I needed to get some antibiotics in me STAT. (Yes, I knew this days ago.) And no, you can’t just walk into a store in Mexico and buy any kind of antibiotics you want. The Mexican Government is on to us, Gringos.

 

So I have resigned myself to sitting in the coolest (and by this I mean least humid) place I can find, which at present is my covered deck, and just rest. I can hear the lagoon, Delia stops by to check on me, Peluchin is sprawled at my feet keeping watch, and I have wi-fi and wacky jungle birds in the air all around me. Slowly but surely I am on the mend, but still pretty miserable. It’s no fun being in the most fun place when you can’t muster up the energy to have any fun and everyone is having fun all around you. This hits a little too close to home. Haber, in 2 more weeks I’ll be dreaming of being here, sick or not.

Back to my hammock.

More photos and updates coming soon. There are some really good ones,  I promise.

In Those Dreams

In a few days this place is going to be buzzing. Not that it’s not now. Just a different kind of buzz. On Saturday night the good people of Akumal will descend upon our dreamy little slice of heaven to see what we’ve been doing behind the giant gate, and hopefully, they will be as pleased as we all are to find contemporary art installations in the middle of the Mayan Jungle.

I have probably hosted more exhibitions than I’ve been a part of. The gallery had a good run while I was still feeling good. And if everything goes as planned, it will be back open this Spring and Summer. In the meantime,¬† I’m excited to be part of ONDARTE’s first exhibition of 2012. It’s an honor to be sharing this space with the artists here, and I’m beside myself every day with the amount of collaboration and effort we all put into each others projects. In fact, if I don’t hurry up and post this, I’m going to be late for my cameo appearance in a short film. I have to walk from the shore straight into the water and then disappear under the surface. I love how we tap each others strengths.

So, if you happen to be in Akumal, anywhere near Yal-Ku Lagoon, say around 6pm on Saturday, then you might want to find your way to the front gate of ONDARTE and into the palapa. There’s a sculpture by Karl Saliter. Hilarious and poignant photos by Ryan Walter Wagner. Beautiful paintings by Jaqueline Cole. Mixed media images and a short animation by Amy Clay, and an installation including sculpture and a projected film… in the POOL… by Marina Fomenko.

And what did I do? I’ve been spending a bit of time underwater with a camera trying to capture in images what it’s like to be in my water dreams. Yes, water dreams. I have them all the time.

And they look like this.

In Those Dreams, Awake

In Those Dreams, Awake - Photo installation 90" x70" - Ali Goodwin

 

It’s a dream to be here.¬† And we all hope, if you get the chance to be here too, you’ll stop by for a cocktail under the starry sky on the edge of the lagoon and see how hard we are working. Yes… Working.

(You try getting large format archival inkjet prints in the middle of the jungle in Mexico.)

In Those Dreams, Awake
Text & Photographs by Ali Goodwin

I open my eyes and look up through the surface as I reach for it. There is no sun, just grey swirling shadows of a markless sky. I break through at the bottom of a swell and gasp for air, another taking shape above me. I only have a moment before I will be under again. I know this. I accept the weight of water. I do not ever think of saving myself. I feel around me for the black shape, a tail, a foot. I must save him, my sweetest love, who never learned to swim. He struggles to reach me, snorting at the water. Biting it. I feel nothing.

There has never been land. There is never a boat. There is never anyone else. There is only water. There is only a wave washing over muffled ears. When I wake up, my arms will ache for hours from treading. My voice will be hoarse from silent cries for help. Phantom limbs will reappear for days. My heart will ache from remembering, and then remembering differently. This will be the only thing I can count on. In those dreams, awake.

©2012, All Rights Reserved.

 

ON SATURDAY NIGHT: 20% of the profits from sales of my editioned prints will go to support the PLAYA ANIMAL RESCUE.

“Mi Hijo” – Black and White Archival Inkjet Prints – 16 x24 ” Edition of 200
$300.00 USD

 

 

Who Are These People

These are the people who juggle, and ride unicycles for a living and make a mean bean sopa. They are the people who will swim with me all day and stay up with me all night editing the photos. They will get robbed, speak Spanish with an Italian accent, drink tequila at 10am and sit on the beach until all hours to watch the moon rise and never miss a beat. They are the people who will ride miles and miles into the jungle on a bike with flat tires just so I can pet a few dogs. These are the people who make me coffee and then make me laugh until my stomach hurts. These are some of the most talented, creative, inspiring, thoughtful and caring people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing, and we get to live together and make art in the Mayan Jungle on Yal Ku Lagoon in a restaurant-turned-residency in Akumal, Mexico.

These are the people who let me take pictures of them.
All the time.

 

Jaqueline Cole & Luca Bray

 

Jaqueline Cole & Luca Bray in Real Life

 

Jaqueline Cole • Maribel Bianchi • Marina Fomenka • Ali Goodwin • Amy Clay

 

Ryan Walter Wagner & Karl Saliter

 

Karl Saliter & Luca Bray

 

Ali Goodwin & Luca Bray

 

They are the people who remind me every day how lucky I am.
Without saying a word.

ONDARTE | January 2012 | Akumal, Mexico

 

These are my people.

Amy Clay – USA
Ryan Walter Wagner – BC
Karl Saliter – USA
Jaqueline Cole – Mexico
Marina Fomenka – Russia
Alec Von Bargen – Photographer & Ondarte Founder
Luca Bray – Painter & Funny Italian Guy

(Alec isn’t in these photos because he had to go to the States or something. Don’t you worry. I’ll get him.)

Jungle Tails

This morning I thought I’d ride my bike over to the pueblo and look for my friend Vincente and his horse, Hijo. When I first found this horse, he was tied off to a lamp post in the middle of the soccer field in town. It was tragic and beautiful and a little bit funny to see this horse just standing out there next to the goal posts. Listen. It’s Mexico. I can’t get all worked up about a lonely horse or a bunch of stray dogs. We’d be here all day. I have loved many and saved a few. In these parts, animals seem to be scattered around like loose trash. Some have homes. Some don’t. It’s hard to tell with most of them. Of course, I want to pick them all up.

As I was finishing my coffee and packing up to go find Hijo, a woman approached the breakfast table flashing a flyer covered with photos of rescued dogs. “They are out in the jungle,” she said to me when I asked where these dogs actually were. “Out in the jungle? Like, just out there? Are they with anyone?” Something in my chest tugged and my trigger finger started twitching on my camera strap. “They are just out there. There’s a guy who feeds them. But they are mostly alone. If you see one you like, just take it.” And that’s when, at my insistence, she gave Marina and I directions to a place several miles deep into the jungle, down a narrow dirt road, through puddles that were more like overflowing cenotes from the previous days rains, to find these jungle dogs.

“Just keep going,” she said, “until you hear them.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ask me how hard it was to leave those familiar brown eyes and that sweet black snout behind in the jungle. A couple of the dogs died this week from snake bites. Dogs really shouldn’t live deep in the jungle, nor should most people, but for the most part, these dogs have it better than most people despite what it might seem at first glance. They are lovingly cared for, some for years, by a few folks from away, with all their shots and medications and plenty of food and fresh water and clean kennels. These same good people are trying hard to build a new shelter, outside the jungle, and will arrange free transportation to the US or Canada for any one of these dogs. Just say the word.

I never found the horse. I asked around and nobody had seen him. I’ll try again mañana. Sometimes, they tell me, he’s over in the school yard.

Every day is like this. We wake up, we have coffee, and then something that could only happen here, happens. I’m pretty sure Marina and I could ride our beach cruiser bikes with their flat tires and bad chains and their missing peddles and their falling off baskets just about anywhere and never get enough of this place. Ever.

 

For Asher, Lukey, Rusty, Rosie, Posie, Putney Sue, Peluchîn, Petey and Clyde. With love, you lucky dogs.

Asher Bean, 2011 ~ Rescued, 2000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stranger Days

The day begins at the crack of dawn, with a hint of hangover, a bummed ride in the bed of a Mexican¬†pet cremator’s pick-up truck sitting next to a plastic tub containing a dead dog, to the closest biggest town 45 minutes North by highway under a blazing Mexican sun to meet up with a couple of mules from the States who have a stash of new photo equipment to replace what was stolen a week ago by El Hombre in a blue shirt and flip flops.

 

A Playa, Por Favor

 

A buenos d√≠as at the guard, a duck under the gate, a mile or so hike into the Zona Hotelera on the fancy end of Playa Del Carmen’s 5th Avenue, and I was met by a familiar face in blue shorts and flip flops.

The transaction went off without a hitch. Well, there was kind of a hitch. My dear friend J.P. announced his engagement to his darling Kelly and she flashed a little bling to prove it.

 

The Soon-to-be-Bilodeaus a.k.a. Mules in Flip Flops. And a Mexican guy.

 

And since we were already on the beach, and it was already almost 10am, and it was Kelly’s 40th birthday, and they had just announced their engagement, and I had come all the way from the Jungle in the back of a pick-up truck sitting next to a dead dog in the damp heat, we ordered a couple of Dirty Monkeys.

Because it was really, like, 11am, in Maine.

 

Dirty Monkey.

 

We laughed. We walked. We waded. We downed a few more Monkey’s, and devoured a dish of guacamole. I squinted into the sweltering January sun only to see that I needed to find the bus back to Akumal. And pronto. My clouds had arrived and my lagoon project waits for no man.

I’m here to work, people. I had pictures to take.

 

Playa Sky + Hottest Day Ever

 

And I would have taken them except the bus forgot to stop in Akumal to let me off, even after I hollered in perfect Spanish. The driver shrugged then turned his eyes back to the road, stopping finally, in the center of Tulum. His apology was weak but the up side was I could stay on the bus and he would take me the 15 or so miles back to my town. Or so he said. In perfect Spanish. Returning to my seat gave me the few seconds I needed to recall the final destination on the ticket. The bus was set to continue on a few hours farther South, to a small town on the border of Belize. I quickly asked the driver if he was going to bring me back to Akumal after Belize.

Sí.

I got off the bus. Pronto.

And at 2pm I was standing in the center of Tulum with 70 pesos in my pocket, a few thousand dollars worth of camera equipment in my pack, about 2 inches of water left in my bottle, no food and boy, did I have to pee.

I found a taxi and for 280 pesos he would gladly take me home. But for 50, well, for 50 pesos he could bring me right back out to the highway, to the entrance of the Tulum ruins, where the Collectívo buses stop and go every few minutes. Sure. Bueno. Vamonos.
I gotta pee.

It was still early by my lagoon project standards, the sun still had a few hours to go, and since it really is quick to jump into the white van with the tan locals on the side of the highway, I thought I’d take advantage of the tourist trap that is ‘Las Ruinas’ and find a bathroom. I found it alright. And it cost 10 pesos per pee. Crap.

10 pesos to my name? No Collect√≠vo in Mexico would care enough to take me home. This much I knew. And I could hold it if it meant I had to hand over another camera. I decided I’d risk a snake bite behind the “Best Cuban Cigar Shop in Mexico.” I’ve relieved myself in riskier places.

And that’s where I found them.

 

Seis y Seis, No? Piña, Perro, and Mona Loca (that's me).

 

I yelled DOMINO! and before I could even think about those snakes, I was swearing and swigging and slamming down tiles, having the time of my life. My sweet summer of double sixes on a sailboat had prepared me nicely for victory after victory. Two hours later, my clouds were almost gone, the tequila was definitely gone, and I should probably be going, too.

But not before I promised “Pi√±a” and “Perrito” that their new Amiga would return real soon.

They made me.

Dominos in Tulúm with Piña, Perro, and Mono Loca (that's me)

Dom-i-NO! Que Madré, Amiga!

 

I hopped on the Collectívo and tried not to put my foot in the vomit on the floor.
For 20 Pesos.

At least I was headed back in the direction of the clouds.

A Collectîvo to the Clouds

If I could just get past millions of fire ants.

Fire Ants. Everywhere.

I followed their lead and I made a run for it.

Ants. A lot of them.

 

Straight to the Super Chomak Market to pee. For free.

 

Hover.

 

And as the Mexican sun set behind me with practiced perfection, I walked the 2 miles home in flip flops, all my new gear intact and not a peso to my name, along the most beat up road, where the very best of intentions hovered.

Sí.

I’ve had stranger days.

 

P.S. I’d like to remind the lovely Kine and her mate from Norway (two wonderful strangers I met on the bus, who distracted me from my own stop with their plans to travel for 4 months from L.A. to Africa)…
Write it all down, girl. Write it ALL down.

 

All Too Good

I have arrived and I am all in one piece for the most part. There is the small issue of a freshly broken toe and a recently stolen camera but hey, it’s Mexico. Let’s start there and say that the rest is just part of the story.

And this is going to be some story.

I’ve been here for a little over a week now, and it feels like forever and like I just got here just yesterday. Time doesn’t tick at the same speed, and surely days have names, in a few languages, but I have lost them all in a blur of sunshine and full moons and new friends and things that go bump in the night that you can’t find on Google. I have written a blog post in my head every day since I saw the color of the water. But as it goes when you are trying to get back to living, my days are so full of snorkels and sightseeing and work, taking photos of everything in between, I hardly have a breath left at the end of it all to write it all down. But I have been. And all of it will sooner or later, end up right here.

For now, just know that it rains in the Mayan Jungle, too, and those of you who think I am “living the life,” let’s take a moment to remember that this very “life” has come at a very steep price for me. I’m choosing sea turtles and tequila over shivering and shoveling snow for a bit. Can you blame me?

I have a lot to tell you – believe me – there are stories here in Akumal that BEG to be told. So hold on to your horses, and keep your eye on my new website. As soon as I get back from tomorrow’s ‘turtle time’ I’ll start writing. I promise.

Turtle Time – Photo By Ryan Walter Wagner

 

This is all too good to keep all to myself.

39 And Everything After

At the present moment, I am a little reluctant to go back in time, to recap the last little bit of my life. I am so very anxious to move forward from this madness of a year. But it’s not over yet. Not for a few more days anyways, so I will go back, just a little bit, if only for myself to read a year from now, when this really bad dream fast forwards into a really good book about a girl who had the craziest life of them all. Hell, crazier things have happened in a year.

I turned 39 a few weeks back. I woke up early to a cloudy sky over a churning sea and I was pulled sleepy-eyed by some otherworldly force out of bed and onto the rocks. I needed to be in that water. To wash off the last year, if not the last 39. So I did. I ran straight down to the beach and into the waves, a near-naked crazed girl, laughing and crying and embracing the whole gift of the day. My 39th year had come and I had arrived in my entirety, with all my wits and all my will, daring the sky to open wide and rain on my parade. Bring it, I said.

What’s a little water, after all.

 

November 27, 2011

 

And a few days after skidding on my knees into 39, a rogue wave hit my broken heart through a pane of glass and sent me reeling back to the beach in the dark of night to throw rocks into the howling wind. As loud as I could, I begged the stars to align themselves in some fashion that I might for once come to understand this misaligned life of mine. Teary-eyed anger turned to sleep, and in the morning presented me with the horizon line of clarity I had wished for with all my might as 39 candles went out. I sent an email back to Mexico, accepting the photo residency invitation I had declined months before. I had to go. For so many reasons if not just to spite the one monkey that held me back. My back was already so broken. So why not go headlong into the Mayan jungle and face it? But what if I couldn’t do it. Oh, Worse! What if I didn’t do it. Qu√© onda, mono?! Ya me voy.

So for the last little bit I have been making my lists and checking them twice, preparing to depart for Quintana Roo. Not as easy as it sounds for this girl, my poor wings having so recently been soaked in gallons of chemo. I am easily overwhelmed by the laundry, never mind packing for a 5 week stay anywhere but my couch. This past weekend I did a test run, traveling far and wide outside my current comfort zone, getting on a bus bound for NYC to celebrate Ezra’s 38th birthday. It was not without it’s moments of undoing for me, but it was a trip worth taking. As it goes, the lost and found can be lost and found again and again. Six months after we found each other in barely one piece, me, lost without my boobs and he, lost without his bike seat, the two of us sicker than any two friends have a right to be, combined, were found again in otherwise good health, in our new birthday suits.

 

May 8, 2011 | December 18, 2011

 

And then there was this morning. I missed my return flight back to Berlin. Instead, I shook off the memory of those icy Adriatic winds, brushed a thousand wishes off my pillow, and got my first real haircut. Because next Saturday morning, December 31st, a minute to the year when the phone rang with the new year’s news that I had cancer, I will be stepping off a different plane and into the jungle. I will look up at the new moon and count constellations over a sea a whole world away from this time last year. It is the very next thing to happen, which will indeed lead to the very next thing after that. 39 years and I think I finally understand this forward feeling.

 

December 12, 2010 | December 12, 2011

 

It’s the beginning of everything after.

 

Waking Up

As the Crow Flies

October 27th, 2010

Very early in the morning on October 27th, 2010, I was laying in bed, my head swirling with all the day was about to bring. Bags and clothes and supplies and photography equipment were scattered all over my room at my family’s farm in Eliot, Maine. Outside, the sun was coming up, and a balmy fog blanketed the field next to the farm house, suspending itself in perfect light between the high tension lines. Birds were flying. The house was stirring. I was waking up.

Very early in the morning on October 27th, 2010, I felt the lump in my chest. I felt the heaviness in my heart. A sinking in the pit of my stomach. But there was no time, it seemed, to think the worst. I had worked too hard getting myself into an upright and locked position to be able to finally take flight. There were only a few more hours, a million things to do, before I could stop to take a breath. Life was starting over thousands of miles away. I was waking up.

Very early this morning, on October 27th, 2011, I was laying in bed, my head swirling with all the day was about to bring. Bags and clothes and supplies and photography equipment scattered all over my seaside cottage in Kittery Point, Maine. Dim rays of rain-soaked light suspended themselves over a deep blue sea. Thousands of miles away from this day last year, I could no longer feel my chest. I couldn’t feel my arm. But I could feel my lungs fill under the heavy blankets with chilly morning air as I took a breath. I was waking up.

Sometimes Words Fall Short

There haven’t been many words here in the last few months. Up until the last post, I had been pretty honest about how I was doing, what it felt like to be trapped in this sick body. But in this last little bit, while I was finishing up the second round of chemo, healing up from my surgery, gearing up for another one, and spending every last possible moment I could out on the water, I couldn’t find the words in me to talk about it. The chemo had finally won, I gave in to it, as body and brain squeezed through a meat grinder of physical and emotional agony. It took everything I had just to do it. To get from one end of the day to the other. To endure myself. And I wouldn’t have done myself justice trying to explain it all anyways. Sometimes, words just fall short. Instead, I set out to sea with all the force of a spent wave and let the wind and water make all the noise for awhile.

I am within days of the anniversary of my departure to Berlin. A year ago I packed my bags, found the lump, boarded the plane. For a few months in Europe I was a sponge. I soaked up every moment as if it could be snatched away at any moment. I took chances on things that would have had me thinking twice back home. I met interesting, wonderful people, I danced, I ate crepes every day. In the early mornings, in my studio in Berlin, I would photograph myself. I didn’t know for sure what was wrong, but I had a gut feeling, as the dots began to align and German doctors ranted, and I wanted to capture myself in photographs before my life, my body, was potentially altered for good. I allowed myself to see what was coming only through the lens. I tucked each days photos away, I tucked the worry away, and went on living. There was no need to talk about it. The morning was over.


But there is something to tell this morning.

A year after I looked at myself through the lens of my camera, decidedly a different girl, I AM a different girl. I beat breast cancer. I have been declared free to go. The cancer is in remission, last week’s ancillary node dissection surgery revealing 13 out of 13 lymph nodes negative for cancer cells (unlike the last surgery)! And… I woke up with the most beautiful set of knockers a girl with cancer could ever ask for.

I won this round.

And still, sometimes words fall very, very short. There are so many things I want to say. There was a winter of such discontent, the depths of which no chart would dare mark. And as these depths changed with the tide, so too, did the course. On shore, the hard choices were riddled with the flotsam and jetsam of doubt and fear. But out there, an invincible summer began. Saltwater snuck it’s way past the poison, back into my veins. A sailboat appeared on the horizon, with crisp white sails gasping for fresh salt air. My hair came back in whisps then, curls. Wool was traded for silk. With a co-conspirator at my side and plenty of rum at the ready, we cast off on a permanent starboard tack to find secret beaches, breath-stealing sunsets and rising moons, constellations in the quiet, rocking dark of sea-damp nights. With fish jumping and seagulls squaking, we floated away whole days in the seaweed of Smuttynose, arms outstretched, the sun and saltwater righting us, healing wounds our blue-green eyes couldn’t see. Laughing our salty heads off at the very notion of peril. Where the waves whispered wild and sweet, I wasn’t sick. If words fail you now, sailor, blame the halyards. We did everything right.

And this morning, as I lay here in my bed by the sea, Asher beside me, the rain on the roof, leaves on the ground, the waves crashing within earshot, the Isles of Shoals floating within sight, in a house built by the Thaxter’s themselves, I am a soul in division from itself. Heriocally lost. Heriocally found. And I can tell you with absolute certainty these next few words…

I wouldn’t have traded this last year for anything.
Not one precious salty drop of it.

And this probably makes no sense to anyone at all.

Like when they tell you that you’re 38 years old and you have cancer.

And then they tell you that you don’t.

Sometimes words fall short.

~ Ali

 

I’d like to thank my friend, artist Dennis Michael Jones, for inspiring this post. Sometimes your words get me thinking.

Sometimes Words… by Dennis Michael Jones