I believe that the way we feel as we fall asleep can profoundly impact the flow of the following day. Last night, I made my first attempt at learning songs on the ukulele. By the end of the first tune I was certain that it was the happiest instrument I had ever set hands on. I was grinning from ear to ear when I finally curled up and closed my eyes.
Today was one of those perfect days. I awoke from my ukulele dreams, already smiling. Just after I started onto my favorite hiking trail, I found myself whispering to two deer while they took their time deciding that I was not a threat. Only a few moments later, I stumbled across a mango that had clearly just fallen from the tree, ripened to perfection. I slowed my pace and took in my surroundings more intently as I nibbled on my impromptu snack and wrote lyrics in my head. I went back to the house to spend some more time with the uke and my woodland poetry, while swinging in the hammock and taking in the view.
A few weeks earlier I agreed to help my friend with a project for her kindergarten class. Having remained true to my nature, waiting until the last possible day to work on it, I eventually hopped out of the hammock and into the car. I had a date with a cartoon cutout named Flat Stanley. I always enjoy visitors because they give me an excuse to see some of my favorite sites and Stanley was treated like any other island guest. I photographed him in many of my favorite locations – beaches, sugar mill ruins, overlooks – we even sipped fresh coconut water together as we daydreamed about pirates.
I returned home, selected my favorite photos from the afternoon, and emailed them to the states as I realized that the sun was beginning to set. I sauntered back up to the balcony as my housemates trickled out to join me in watching another stunning sunset. Now, I am back downstairs in my cozy apartment enjoying the fresh coconut meat left over from my earlier beachside beverage, editing photography, and giving thanks for the moments – the lovely little moments – that added up to a day that felt nothing short of magical.
For the most part I work in the evenings – except Sundays. On Sunday mornings I am the brunch bartender at Rhumb Lines Restaurant in Cruz Bay. It is a shift that I have worked for nearly six years, and I love it. On St. John there is no shortage of excuses to celebrate, and Sundays hold no exception – the day alone is reason enough. “Sunday Funday” is a weekly occasion. I could bemoan the fact that I regularly work through this celebration (and no doubt have from time to time), but my primary reaction is to feel that I am actually an important part of it. I, along with my Rhumb Lines cohorts, am one of the girls who waves the flag to start the races. I look forward to the locals that pile into the restaurant before they head out for their adventures. I like that I am there to nourish, caffeinate, hydrate, and adequately prep them for the volleyball, sailing, beaching, boating, and/or general shenanigans that will later ensue. We all catch up on the week that has passed and get excited about the days to come. When the shift is over I feel as if I spent the day hanging out with my friends, with my island family. I leave content. I also leave knowing that my own favorite Sunday activity still awaits…sunset.
Sunday evening sunsets provide such perfect closure to my week. The location can vary, with sailboat decks being my most preferred point of view. However, I usually enjoy the scene from my balcony. It is not always quiet – often one neighbor is rockin’ the reggae in an attempt to drown out the soca beat from a few doors down – but it is always peaceful. Some days I am joined by housemates. Other days I use the time to phone stateside friends. Sitting on my own is equally pleasurable. It is a time that naturally lends itself to reflection as the sun melts into the horizon and takes with it any of the weeks left over resistance. As the light fades and the colors stretch across the sky, I am always left feeling vastly thankful for all of the beauty that this life offers and equally hopeful for all of the possibility that the next week holds.
photo: US Virgin Islands (April 2015)