At his instruction and encouragement, I pinch the rough and shiny spines of a large, black sea urchin with two nervous fingers, pulling the squirming creature from its rock, gasping at my own audacity. I wade back into the hidden little cave, just five barefoot steps from this village of sea urchins, and I proceed to scratch out the pebbly orange meat inside, slimy little morsels, with my finger—my friend showed me how. But I notice the spines and shards of shell of its poor cousins strewn all about me on the rocks and the sand, as I scoop its salty squishy fresh flesh into my mouth…
I feel somehow sheepish and apologetic to these spindly carcasses when I exclaim aloud how delicious is its meat…
…then I eat about three more.
I wonder if it is offensive that I tried to use one of their stouter spines as a utensil to eat their own innards….
originally written : 06 January 2017 / Mirissa, Sri Lanka
Three years ago, in my darkest months of 2013, in order to manufacture for myself some small light of hope, some small relief from the reality of my depression and the depression of my reality, I set up a Facebook account and profile for my imagined future self, living and posting in circa 2016.
I added to this page my dreams and my wishes in bits and bytes, in the form of photo posts and status updates, a visualization of the future I dared to want, built with Facebook and Google images, designed with ambition and hope.
And here we are now.
Now as I write this, falling into the latter half of this final day of 2016, I am lying on cotton cushions shaded from the high Sri Lankan sun, pondering adjectives and memories; I am trying at every sunrise to learn my turns on the glassy blue-green waves of the Indian Ocean. I have one dozen sentences in Sinhala to speak with locals as I swat at the flies competing for my food; I have a book in Russian on my bed to attempt and often fail to read at night. I sleep next to a red suitcase of scented mosquito repellent, sunscreen and hair oils, two bikinis and two rashguards, some books in languages I can not yet read, a set of tightly rolled black hand wraps for muay thai, a pair of decrepit, mismatched dancing shoes, their battered heels still with some glitter, along with the roll of duck tape I use to fasten them onto my feet, and, of course, some various means of recording my intentions, my reflections: two withering spiral notebooks, a leather journal, one MacBook Air.
I have a one-way ticket to fly, at last, to Kuala Lumpur.
And I am, after all, writing a blog.
On a one-month journey in Sri Lanka
I thought I was to explore an ancient nation….
It turns out
that I am here
to investigate, at last,
an inexplicable, lifelong pull
from the night sea that sang to me
in unknown memories, and in my earliest dreams,
calling me farther and farther onto its moonlit waters
with the wistful melody of a wooden pipe rising up in the zephyrs
to voyage forth into that world somewhere beyond the evening horizon…
where I belong.