Monday, August 3, 2009

Unexpected Tranquility

I dipped my toe in the aquamarine water, marveling at the white sand that stretched the length of the bay. Tiny pebbles bounced over my feet as the surf crashed onto the shore, scrambling towards the safety of the palm trees, only to be dragged roughly back to the sea.

I trailed my hand through the salty foam and splashed my neck, my arms. It was warmer than I expected – a clear sign it hadn't rained in weeks. I lowered myself into an oncoming wave, letting the water roll over my shoulders. Strands of hair clung to my cheek, mingled with the coarse sand.

I lowered still further until my head slipped beneath the surface. My everyday thoughts, concerns, the stresses of the world, all drifted away with the current. For this one afternoon a buoyant cocoon protected me from the real world.


Last week Ibis and I went to Playa la Ropa, the largest and cleanest of the four beaches on Zihuatanejo Bay. As we drove over the hills between our house and the beach, my jaw dropped when I saw the water. It's normally a deep blue, but that day it was pale turquoise, like the Caribbean.

When we arrived at the beach, we discovered that the June storm that washed away much of Barra de Potosi also affected La Ropa. (We also saw a difference at Playa la Madera last weekend, but the water color hadn't changed.) Now the water covers what used to be the last 20 feet of the beach and laps at the tables and beach chairs of the restaurants and hotels. It's this shift that's caused the change in water color. The water over the pure white sand appears aquamarine.

It looked like a different beach. It was even saltier than normal. I normally don't go past my waist – I'm too nervous about whatever creatures are lurking beneath the surface – but this time I spent the majority of the day frolicking in the waves, enjoying my pseudo-vacation.

Have you ever had an experience like this, where a place you frequent changes so much it feels like you've transported to an entirely different place?


Penguin said...

Yes, I fish on the Little Manistee river. That changes almost every winter.
A bit un-nerving to find so much change.
But kinda cool the things that Mother can do.

Janna Qualman said...

It sounds so beautiful, so perfect. I'm really glad you had that experience. Jealous! ;)

Melanie Avila said...

Penguin, it is cool seeing how much things change. The beaches here always fluxuate with the seasons, but this storm did more damage than normal.

Melanie Avila said...

Janna, we didn't expect a mini-vacation right here in Zihua. We finally felt some of the excitement the tourists feel!

Natasha Fondren said...

Oh wow. Nice. Playing in the Pacific is definitely a priority next Spring!

JLC said...

Yes, every time I go back to San Diego. Last time was after the fires and the place was charred and smoky. The time before that, a bunch of new stores and neighborhoods were built. That place changes all the time! (I think now there are repo signs all over those new neighborhoods.)

Melanie Avila said...

Natasha, I'm so excited for you!

Melanie Avila said...

JLC, I think it would be freaky to see so much fire damage. They do a lot of burning here, especially along the roads, but there's very little built in those areas.

My hometown has really developed in the last ten years. It's crazy!

Nadine said...

The water sounded beautiful! Where are the pictures? :)

Melanie Avila said...

Nadine, I didn't bring the camera. We bring it along maybe half the time, but it's just one more thing to worry about people stealing when we're not sitting next to our stuff, you know?

I sent Ibis back a couple days later to take a picture and he said the dirt was getting churned up and it didn't look the same.