Back From Where I Was
Spent five days away in Cancun at a swell beachfront resort.
Whenever I travel, I am consumed with a feeling that everything that can go wrong will go wrong. I am convinced we will miss the flight, be unable to get through customs, arrive at the hotel to discover our room is unavailable. Of course none of this ever happens and I feel foolish for my worry. It is a sickness.
This trip went off without a hitch. We were on time to everything and getting through customs was relatively easy, at least in Mexico. Getting back into the United States was simple once we got to the agent, but the line at the Dallas airport was a bit daunting. Four or five flights arrived near the same time and less than ten agents were working the arrivals gate. Lucky for us we allowed over two hours between flights. But enough about airports and OCD Ryan.
Cancun was outstanding.
I have said before that my favorite ocean is the Atlantic. This trip confirmed that again. My first view of the water after stepping out on the balcony took my breath away. The colors were so vibrant and deep.
Out on the open sea, the deep blue water blended perfectly into the sea green where the waves broke and smashed the beach.
The sound, the constant sound, echoing off the walls behind me, so inviting and welcoming.
Being out in the waves, feeling the power of them, is humbling and exciting. It only takes a few minutes before you start to feel comfortable out in the water, learning the timing of each wave and cycle of waves. At one point, several larger waves rolled through and as the water hit the beach, then rolled back, it would collide with incoming waves and the resulting impact would send water high into the sky. If I was fortunate, I stood right at the center of these collisions and the heaviness of the water would knock me several feet from where I stood.
After a few wave cycles, the water would calm a bit and the depth would decrease to less than a foot. In these moments, the undertow and current were ridiculously strong, pulling all of us to the right along the beach, and if we would allow it, out to open sea. The next cycle would start and large waves would come in ten second bursts, the water rising up to my chest, each more powerful than the last. Staying in one spot was near impossible. I don’t swim well and it is easy for me to become disoriented and frightened when out in open water, so I kept myself to areas where standing was easy. Still, there were several times when I found myself on my back or stomach, tumbling through the water, swallowing too much, standing and coughing.
I couldn’t shut my brain off though, and several things stood out to me about my fellow travelers. A level of sickening entitlement permeated the resort. I saw people treat others in horrible ways. One woman berated a bartender for five minutes about something he had no control over. People letting their children throw food on the floor and run about, knocking tables over and spilling dishes. I know these things aren’t exclusive to resort vacations, but the lack of simple kindness, saying please and thank you, are more evident when everything you eat or drink comes through the resort employees. Standing in line for a drink, seven people in front of me and only one of them offered a thank you or a tip. Several seemed put out they had to wait for anything.
Our first night back, I lay in my bed, wide awake and pondering my experience. I was sad to be home, which means I was away just long enough.
Hours later, I still couldn’t sleep. Something was off, missing, out of place. It was too quiet. In just five days, I had grown accustomed to the sound of the ocean as I fell asleep. The constant movement of it rocked and cradled me, as if it was only there for that purpose. But I know better. It always moves, always flows, always grinds away. For all its beauty it is ruthless, constantly consuming. Maybe that is what makes it beautiful in the first place.