The waves beat rhythms against the sand in repeating patterns
more than one would expect from a lake
that is so often glassy and silent.
Motorized boats for tourist amusement
or local fisherman at work
move around the islands at varying speeds
surrounded by the much smaller wooden dugout canoes
and kayaks moved by paddles and arm power.
The air is thick with moisture
the sweet scent of frangipane blossoms.
Here, both on the beach and inland, the pace is slow.
The visitors seem to always have time
for another beer, another cigarette.
The only rush I sense
is how fast people seem to be running
away from their lives.
We come here and find God’s glory
tropical beauty, painted skies.
We rise early to dive into His word as the sun rises hot
then we cool our fevered skin in the waves.
From rooms next to us others emerge eyes blurry
staggering, looking far too rough for coffee to cure.
They never make it any farther than the bar
or a lounge chair where collapsing
with no appearance of happiness
they begin another day of nothingness.
Another beer. Another cigarette.
Laughter loud, echoing falsely.
Some are passing through
others have made this place their home
living off the profits of tourist trade.
In the shadow of their lost lives
we walk, we swim, and we feast on local fish.
I open my senses to reel in all that I can contain
ever aware of this vitality
this wanting to be awake and alive.
It was not that long ago
that I too sought and savoured the numbness.
So this day my heart and spirit rejoice
whispering, singing, shouting with thanksgiving.
What wondrous redeeming grace.