I had spent the entire week within the boundaries of the resort in Puerto Peñasco, where smiling staff and sparkling pools swept us away to a faraway place. A place well beyond the relentless reach of reality.
I was in paradise. Away from the rain and the gray of winter back in my hometown. Away from the typical monotony of pounding fact after fact into my overflowing brain within the confined corners of a study room. I was in a place where no one from my world could touch me.
I acquainted myself with a poolside beach chair that had constant exposure to the sun. I love the sun. It never ceases to amaze me how its powerful and unyielding warmth can travel such inconceivable distances. Whose light is so potent, it can pierce the moon. I chose to bathe in its grandeur each day.
This spot also had a clear view of the shore. Several yards of rough sand stretched out between me and the steady rhythm of water. Tiny black shadows on the sand suggested the presence of whole shells and stones that had yet to be worn further by the unforgivable force of the tide. The tide here seemed to sway at decibels much lower than those back home. I love the ocean. It allows me to feel small and, at the same time, part of something much bigger.
I frequented this particular chair throughout the week to read or nap, or simply talk with my family. I love my family and relish that I, and only I share a particular bond and history with these select individuals among the seven billion that are saturating our planet. They have affected the growth and development of my character in fundamental and monumental ways. They’ve helped to mold the lens with which I view the world.
On December 31, 2011, my last day in Mexico, I decided to take a walk on the beach for a few hours alone. As I began my trek along a dry, crusted segment of sand, recollections of previous trips to the beach with my family emerged into my head.
Soon other memories and thoughts began to crowd in. As I sorted through particulars of the past, and the might-be’s of the future, my feet began to migrate toward the rippling water. I walked along the margins of ocean and land, stepping over the foamy ridges of the waves, careful not to disrupt them, like my siblings and I used to do when we were little.
We called it water jump-roping.
Thoughts of the rough year I had roamed through my mind. I studied the small volcano-like mounds in the sand made from some little creatures I imagined looked like spiders. This prompted me to step on them, covering the tiny holes on top, only to find them reemerging after the subsequent wave swept in. Water spewed out of the new holes and trickled away in tiny rivers across the dark sand.
A couple hours after walking, I looked back to see that the resort had blended itself into the developed coastline along with its neighboring buildings. I turned my head toward the vast expanse of ocean and waded far out into the tide until all signs of land were outside of my peripheral vision. I imagined what it would be like to stand in the middle of the ocean miles from land.
I felt the cool water remain level around my knees. The sounds of the waves breaking at the shore had become mere static. With the water, the sun, and the sky before my eyes, the feeling of my feet sinking into the sand and the sun’s warmth grazing my skin, I simply stood.
My brain cleared and I basked in the moment. I thought of nothing except for the fact that my being there – as a child to my parents, as an organism with senses, as the product of millions of years of evolution and thousands of electrical impulses firing in that very instant, on that beach – the result of massive amounts of hydrogen and oxygen coupling and colliding against tectonic plates encircling an enormous floating, spinning ball of fire, at that very moment, was all pure statistical coincidence, at which point I felt so overwhelmed that I started to cry.
After some time, a single thought materialized before me and I was drawn back to the noise. Everyone’s probably wondering where I am. I became aware that I was cold and starting to feel hungry. So I turned around to head back, parting with that moment in time forever. Thinking back to that day, I can’t quite remember much about the walk back.
It’s crazy to think that as children, we were always naturally mindful – living in and for each moment. Somehow in the process of growing up we lose that innate ability to just be present. This is something we must discover and rediscover everyday, every moment.
I don’t know when I may feel that overpowering sense of unknowingness again. All I do know is that I felt it and it is my utmost wish that others do too.
Priya is a full-time time student at Western University of Health Sciences in Southern California who has based her future career goals on her passion and love for people. She is pursuing a career in medicine.