Tripping (part 1)

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Skull Wall

We returned from an adventurous trip to Mexico, to just days later leaving on an airplane at an excruciatingly early hour to New York for a funeral.

What brought us to Mexico in the first place was our own need to get out of town, the time period overlapping the anniversary of the loss of our son. Mourning in dramatic ways has never quite suited me, and my preference has been more towards stating the truth, acknowledging impermanence, and moving forward. After all, time doesn’t stop. Our world is full of illusions. I hope, perhaps in vain, to be free of such things.

Mexico was an opportunity to push myself out of my comfort zone – which had become, over the past year, one of careful sterility. To say that my loss a year ago left me changed would be an understatement. It was transforming, in some ways that I wish I could shake. The skulls that decorate so much of the Mayan buildings at ruins like Chichen Itza are reminders of the same skulls I see in my life, the intimate knowledge that what we see, every day, is temporary. The great temples of the Yucatan, hundreds of years old, are only recognizable as such to lowly tourists as ourselves because there has been a blatant refusal to embrace the transitory nature of this reality. These places have been painstakingly restored and preserved, the significance of parts of it left to the imaginations of present scholars.

It’s a shame to go on a trip, so far out of my comfort zone (convenient bathrooms, toilet paper, common language, potable water, police not carrying sub-machine guns, middle-class mundanity free of desperation, etc.) Luckily, I brought my scuba gear and we were booked to dive in a cenote called Dos Ojos.

(to be continued)