So here I sit, on an exotic and difficult-to-reach tropical island for my honeymoon. Our cottage is perched high atop a steep mountain overlooking the ocean, and yet today, my view is restricted to the trees alongside the house and a few palm fronds off the porch.
It has rained in this part of the Netherlands Antilles since before our trip started, and this evening’s downpour (at least in my mind) is about four notches shy of what I remember from Hurricane Hugo in 1989. Of course, with this being the first real rain I’ve ever encountered in the Caribbean despite quite a few visits (they don’t call it the “off-season” for nothing), my outlook is probably much more bleak than it should be.
The truth is, beauty is where you want to find it. With every clap of thunder and through the monotonous chant of raindrops on the tin roof, the tabernacle-sized chorus of tree frogs outside only gets louder. And each drop of clean water from the sky adds to the cisterns underneath each structure on the island, brilliantly illustrating the circle of life.
Even in the midst of a vicious downpour on a vacation where we had planned to spend five days hiking, there is something at once magical and wonderfully primordial about sitting on a hilltop in the clouds. The connection to nature here is quite real, not withstanding the 6-inch lizards that scurry across the threshold to our bathroom, which is actually an outdoor grotto located off the back of the house.
The whole situation, which contrasts sharply with our typical Friday nights in Washington, D.C., and with what I thought I would get out of this trip one-third of the way through it, makes me stop and count my blessings.
This is life, not a glossy postcard from a faraway island. When I set aside expectations and focus on being right here, in this very moment, then I become the wealthiest man in the world in terms of my experience. And the same will hold true tomorrow, and the next day, provided I take the same approach.
Not really the type of inaugural travelogue I expected to write on this trip, but then again, I’m throwing those expectations off the porch, knowing full well I might never see where, out there in the dense clouds, they land.