The Good the Bad and the Beaches.


(Impressions of Mexico – off the tourist track.)
Wandering around ruins of ancient, less frequented pyramids I gave thanks for the girl who insisted I needed extra strong bug spray, for my broad brimmed sun hat and techniques of bag clutching gleaned from my Far East travels. It was, I surmised, a land of saints and sinners, the wonderful friends helping at my daughter’s wedding and those “other folks” who seemed intent to steal, cheat and con at every opportunity. Could I blame them? Probably not.
Seeing ancients trying to make a living washing windscreens or playing guitar at beach tables, their skin a sea of wrinkles from long hours in the sun, wrung my heart, along with the young girl whose mother enforced dubious tactics to cajole my daughter to buy a cheap toy. I saw the fear and humiliation in her eyes.
We found a guy knocking on windows saying his wife just died of cancer and he had no way to get home to his daughters. Was he telling the truth? I don’t know. The tears at least were genuine as were the shaking shoulders as he broke down in my daughter’s arms. Whatever the truth of his story he was desperate. We each gave him the usual 10 pesos (it’s only 50 pence, if it were a con we wouldn’t miss it).
I saw a lot of the seamier side of life, but then I was looking. We were to their eyes “rich foreigners” who could afford to give and they lined up to sell us something. Even China was not like that. I began to understand why they swamp the US borders. As generally is the case, underlying corruption seemed the base of the problem.
Then there was the good. The smiling friendly faces, honest folks who had opportunity to cheat me (due to my ignorance) but chose not to, friends and co-workers of my German son in law who worked to bring the wedding to pass, his brother who took over the bar when the waiters and barman proved totally hopeless, the inclusiveness of the crowd, dragging everyone up to dance, the fun and freedom as folks doffed their wedding gear to plunge in the pool and escape the heat.
Later I discovered the beaches, cool, fabulous, blue sky edged with pale soft sand and waves just cool enough to refresh, a solace to the soul. We passed the best afternoon at one such place discovering a “pearl of great price” an honest restaurant with a waiter who could juggle all our bills and requests with ease, shady umbrellas and deck chairs with the surf a few yards away (we left a hefty tip.)
Now I’m home enjoying gentle English summer and shopping in streets guarded by police that keep law and order instead of seeking bribes. I give thanks for my heritage for not all enjoy it and I know it was dearly bought.

Twilight Falls


sea sunset

Twilight years evoke a response as a cord of music entices the ear and stirs the senses reverberating in the dusky silence. You long to sing but don’t yet know the words or melody, just an echo stirring your heart like a gentle breeze, sweet to the lips. Pause, breathe in its essence, soft, fragrant, defused.

Watch as the sun dips low on the horizon and purple and crimson splash their colours on the sky. Listen for the echoes far off. You’ll not hear the melody till the sun sets and things of life grow dim, but you hear the echoes. Like ripples on the water they come to you from the declining sun, borne on the tide of faith. What sweetness can be found here, standing at the water’s edge as the sun bathes the ocean in scarlet. Its dark red orb sinks ever lower seeking its reflection in the waves, and worlds touch just for a moment. You sense vibrations of a world beyond present sight, sighs and visions, sounds and touches born hither on the wind, enticing, calling …

You heard it before, long ago. Once heard it is hard to forget, it reverberates in your soul, the dulcet tones, soft touch of the air, blended colours awakening to your eyes. It waits at sunset when you come home.

Enjoy this twilight, sweetest wine, as a vintage long stored and matured. Savor it, swill the taste in your mouth, smell its aroma. It is a pungent brew and will make you smile, perhaps even laugh at times.

See the fire kindled on the beach. The sun grows dim but the blaze of love shall keep you warm till it dips as fire in the ocean. Throw on things you no longer need, outgrown things of youth, empty ideas, false concepts. No need of them now, consign them to the flames, even your shoes, for there is not far to walk, and the sand is soft and smooth. You are tired now and do not wish to travel more, but there is yet a little time, time to stand in the fires glow and watch the colours of the sky as the sun descends in majesty. It has been a good life, touching the heart of many an ocean and strange, wonderful creatures you met on the sands.

Now it is the final beach, no more wonderings to and fro. Now is time to pause, to listen and in the sound of the surf to hear the echoes again, gently calling. It is not time yet, the fire yet burns, the sun still a ball of flame in the sky. Come, dance, sing, roll free in the surf and lie propped in your lover’s arms as you listen to the echoes the waves bring across the ocean and write them as memorials to your times here. Sit in the twilights lingering glow and listen.