July 17, 2010


Forget the gold. Just try to see the colors.

The taxi driver said it was bad luck. He had seen five turtles coming in to lay eggs the night before. Five! And then he let go of the steering wheel to demonstrate how they looked when they were swimming ashore. He could not understand then how the three of us had managed to sit for an hour, waiting to see the nightly pilgrimage that these giant beasts make at this time of year, only to end up with mosquito-bitten ankles and a better idea of how waves sound hitting the shore.

Bad luck, he repeated.

It was not necessarily the message I wanted to hear, only an hour into my 30th birthday— especially since I had been planning to christen my three decades of life with a journey of some sort. Originally, yesterday was going to be the day that I set off on a grand road trip, one to visit as many Facebook friends as I could in a year. I was going to be finished with Mexico by now, and I was going to have my camper all ready to go, and I was going to hit the road with my dog, an iPhone, and lots of gumption. And it was all going to begin exactly 30 years after I was born.

But then things got delayed. Significantly. And so I am still stuck on this little island, thousands of miles away from my dog and my camper, and trying to make the best of it, which is why it was such a nice idea when one of my friends suggested we go see the turtles coming in. Somewhere in my mind, I remember thinking how it would be symbolic to see something so sacred and important in the fragile ecosystem, which is not only a huge part of this former fishing village’s history but also seriously in trouble right now, thanks to you-know-who.

Apparently I was not even meant to witness another creature’s grand passage, if not my own, though, because we didn’t see anything. Not even a crab.

Oh, well, I thought. At least I can still post a blog entry. That would have been the beginning of a journey; right? I mean, I’ve never blogged before and the fact that I am going to be doing it for the next year is a big step towards trying to make it as a writer. I thought blogging for the first time yesterday would still count as some sort of odyssey.

But that was not in the stars, either, because all day yesterday, as I was trying to post, the Internet on the island kept going out. When I finally got something of a stable signal, my blog came up broken. Just white space and some links, as if it didn’t even exist.

Basically then, the only thing that happened as scheduled was that I turned 30— as my raging headache and sudden distaste for tequila today can prove. There also might be a picture floating around here somewhere of me wearing a sombrero.

The point is that you can have an idea of what you want in life but in the end, things will happen as they want to happen and you have very little control over that, so your job is to make the most of what you do get, even if it’s not what you thought you wanted. I know people are saying that all the time but I’ve found that it’s a lot harder to do than it is said. I was pretty set on leaving on my trip yesterday, for example, and when it all fell apart a few weeks ago, I had to deal with it, unless I wanted to walk around in a snit for a month or even longer, which I didn’t.

Basically, it’s like the rainbow at the top of this post. I took a picture of it last fall in the San Juan islands, on my way back to Seattle. I was standing about 10 feet away from the thing, which is why you get to see both ends of it, and clearly, there is no pot of gold on either side. But if that’s what you had been expecting, not only would you be living in a fantasy world, you would also have missed the beauty of the thing entirely.

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