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By March 31, 2022June 23rd, 2023No Comments

Days before leaving on vacation, I take in my surroundings.  It is gloomy out. It seems work is never ending, and the looming war weighs me down. Even though I am very far from the conflict in the Ukraine, my body and my soul have been very affected. I am stressed. I am exhausted. I need some reprieve. You know the feeling?

We arrive in Merida on a beautiful humid and hot day! That is their usual weather in Merida: humid with heat, heat with humidity! I feel a twinge of guilt for being in this gorgeous new environment and then I let it all slide off my shoulders. I have paid my dues. We drive to a town called Puerto Progresso where our good friends are awaiting us in a home. It is a very small town with not much to do. In fact, there is absolutely nothing to do!  But that is the point. We are here to rest! The house that we rented has beautiful areas where we could perch ourselves and soak in the good weather and the serene view of the ocean. This is perfection with the right company of friends, too.

I have never seen an ocean quite like this. It is the Yucatan Peninsula, and it is perfectly calm and peaceful. There Is so little movement on the water that it looks more like a lake. The sun kisses my body.  The sand cools my toes. The water glistens in my eyes. I feel joyful in such a perfect setting. But I also get overwhelmed with the heat. One of my friends suggests I take a floaty to the water so I can cool down.  She says it is wonderful to lay on the sand and relax. She passes me the floaty and walks back to the house. I am alone in the water.

I lay down on the floaty and let my gaze get lost in the sky. Being alone feels good. The water is perfect, cold enough to cool me off. As I am playing with the water with my hands making small circles in the ocean, thinking of nothing at all, I suddenly see a TAIL swim past me. Yep, a tail. And wait a minute. It was not just one. There were two! These tails are swooshing around me without making a sound, not a single splash!

It never ceases to amaze me how our mind can, in a fraction of a second, think the worst! I said to myself, “Is it a shark?! Maybe baby sharks?!  Baby sharks that could make a big shark hole in my legs?!”  I was ready to die or at least get mauled by baby sharks. My heart is racing, and my body is shaking with fear. I could almost swear to you that I heard the music from the movie, “Jaws”, playing in the background.

I have watched many hours of shark documentaries. What are you supposed to do? I cannot remember.   Make noise or not make any noise?!  I am unreasonably scared. Should I get out and swim? Somehow, I managed to wade closer to shore. I jump out and run onto the beach, praying I will not get attacked.

When I reach shore, I look back to see the sharks. They are not sharks! They are manta rays! Boy they scared me. Maybe because they were sneaking around me! I know these creatures do not bite but they can sting you if they think you are bothering them. Nevertheless, they are not like sharks! The “Jaws” soundtrack disappeared.

I laugh at myself. I try to tell my partner and my friends about my frightening experience. Somehow it was lost on them. I felt like I was given a second chance to live!!  The good thing is I got to recover from the near heart attack!