Beats

back bay

Unwittingly, time has seeped onto this island, along the coast, up the hill to this farm and into our little cabin. It has entered this space that seems unaffected by it, and three weeks haved skirted pass quickly, richly. There is a rhythm to most places, a tempo that beats of cyclic change: years, seasons, months, weeks, days… here it seems all of these things are abolished but for the day. It’s impossible to keep track of weeks because there are no weekdays and weekends, no regimen of work pushing towards play. Months and seasons pass like the tides, swelling and folding, but nearly unrecognizable to even the observant human eye. Maybe there’s a bit more rain, maybe a hotter sun, maybe the tomatoes are producing in the garden, but that likely has more to do with their time of planting than the continuous revolution of the earth about the sun.

Ritual is important in a place like this. It ties the passage of the days together in neat, interrelated bundles, and observes the minute and subtle differences between them. Wake before seven after hours of incessant cockcrow, break fast, sunscreen, bug spray, feed the horses, water the parrots, greet Marianna (our wwoof mommy), weed/plant/grade for three or four hours, cook a filling and large lunch at noon, siesta, read/email/laze about during the hottest, most brutal part of the day, and then around 3pm, either hike down to the beach by the Captain Cook monument (the place of his death) to snorkle and swim, or walk to town and read over a cup of coffee and slice of cake at the local bakery.

pinebarrens

Where is the ritual? It’s not just the pattern of work then relaxation; it’s the small details, like popping in to the gas station after each Captain Cook hike for a Melona fix, where the smiling toothless woman with the soft girly voice lives in her air-conditioned ice castle, or counting the number of chicks following the wild chicken who lives by the Oven and Butter Cafe, seven black, one brown, three white, and laugh at autosomal dominance in action. It happens every time: the chicks are there pecking in the parking lot, the smiling woman and her gums, the wrath of the parrots, Marianna’s tales — they are as consistent as the weeds that spring up from the soil as soon as we take them down.

Things are changing here too, no doubt, but the pace feels slower. I think, and hope that if I were to revisit in years or decades, that much of this cycle of growth and abundance will still be here. The volcanos will still be seeping lava into the oceans, spraying rich and porous rocks over the land, which slowly decay and turn into rainforests, then to rich soil from which humans can reap a responsible benefit, and then mixed in with the ground up bones of coral reefs to form those fine sandy beaches.

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