Monday, February 17, 2014


The sun tips west, pouring that rare first-dawn light down the valley east of Cerro del VigĂ­a, splashing the early birds on Playa La Ropa, and into Zihuatanejo Bay.

Out over the Pacific, the cloudless sky sweeps southwest forever, its hem soiled in marine layer's dirty gray. Here and there a white speck marks a sport fisherman's fresh hopes in a sea of possibilities. I watch for spouts of migrating humpbacks.

The waters of the bay begin to stir, the first pangas full of restaurant workers motoring slowly from the fishing pier toward Playa Las Gatas. Dark reflections marble the still-placid surface…except there are no clouds. Just the first stirrings of breeze plucking up patches of small waves.

     Back home, we move fast, almost desperately 
     it seems, as if we were afraid something 
     might stick to us. 

Swarms of bait fish roil the waters too. I imagine their terror as muscular jureles or bonita corral them from below. Now and then, in sweeps of shimmering silver, they break the surface en masse.

As sun rises, the water's subtle shades of color suggest the ours-and-theirs duality of Zihua Bay. To the left, the nearly Caribbean green-blue of lighter sands and clearer water—an idealized place where tourists rule; to the right, grayer, murkier hues, the effluent of a working town.

This bay, this town, this atmosphere, it all has a liquid quality. The sea, the sun, time, the unhurried kindness of the people, the way life itself flows—everything moves slowly, forgivingly, immersing one in its magic.

Back home, we move fast, almost desperately it seems, as if we were afraid something might stick to us. Here in Zihuatanejo, it does.

Monday, February 3, 2014


Today was a good day.

I learned something. I needed a word in Spanish meaning way more than funny. My trusty old Latin American Spanish/English dictionary's definitions for uproarious, hilarious, a scream and half a dozen other terms for really funny fell short of the task. I googled it. Finally, my ten-minute search paid off; I found just the adjective I needed: arrasador. (Its primary meaning is destructive or devastating.)

            For those four glorious minutes, 
            my spirit took wing.

I gave something. Today I started studying for my first training session to become a hospice volunteer. It's the kind of service I've been thinking about ever since my parents died—spending time with folks who know their lives are drawing to a close. Some of them will have no one else.

I experienced wonder. In fact it happened twice before I'd finished breakfast. I was looking out my Minneapolis window at Nature all decked out in fresh white. I thought of how exotic the colors of a Caribbean reef or the deepest Amazon forest are to me, and imagined someone who'd never before seen snow finding this sight every bit as breathtaking. It struck me that, even for one who's seen snow all my life, this was indeed that kind of glorious moment. I had just been taking it for granted; not today.

I soared. While I was admiring the snowscape, as if to orchestrate my awe, they played Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man on the radio. I stopped chewing my cereal, put down my spoon and just listened. I let the sounds, the soaring and the sublime, transport me. For those four glorious minutes, my spirit took wing.

Yes, it was a good day. But such days are not uncommon for me; they seem to seek me out.

What makes a good day for you?