Liberia, Costa Rica
There's a rock that extends about 200 feet out into the Pacific Ocean I like to sit on each time I visit Maui. I've been going to the same spot now for nearly 20 years. Each time I'm a bit older, have seen a little more of the world, and have tucked away a few more worthwhile experiences under my belt. The first time I stumbled upon this little stretch of solitude I'd just graduated from high school about to head back east for college. And like that view of Lanai on a clear day everything was out in front.
As the years went on and I discovered a little more about the world and the role I hoped to someday play in it I continued to saunter to the end of this jutting lava rock. The times of day and the weather varied as much as my stamp on the world. It all depended on what was happening in my life at the time. I'd gone out shortly before moving to New York City for graduate school and few short years later when a girl from the same city broke my heart. It was there for me when I needed a breather from the tension between my folks and I, and even when I needed a break from myself. Like a church it'd presided over as many baptisms as funerals, which is to see it oversaw beginnings and ends, the bests and the worsts of me.
Yesterday in Costa Rica I found my alternate place. I'd ventured far beyond the beachside bars and soft sands to a similar rock stretching around the sea. I slowly made my way over slippery slabs of rubble as a heavy rain began to fall. Within minutes my entire body was drenched as I rounded a steep cliff and came upon a secluded beach. Only it wasn't secluded at all. There were 4 people swimming in this hidden cove eyeing me with the same suspicion I'd offer another who threatened my strip of paradise. I'll just come back tomorrow, I thought.
The next day, as the clouds gave way to a merciless sun, I retraced my steps in search of my stretch of clarity, however fleeting it might be. As sharp rocks dug into the heels of my shoe I could see the same rocky cliff up ahead. I grew anxious as I got closer wondering whether my new spot had been once again commandeered. As I inched closer I could see no trace of carelessly flung towels, sandals, or signs I was not welcome. I was alone.
I swam, wrote, sat, but mainly just tried to be. I thought about how many times the ocean had come to my rescue over the years -- above the cacophony of crashing waves I'd some how quieted the tempest in mind giving me a brief sense of time, space, and my place in the world. Here I was thousands of miles from where I normally hung my hat, but somehow I'd never felt more at ease.
I was home.