Circadian Rhythms

The sun rises over St. Lucia

Well I can tell you now that I needed to get away. Quite badly as it turned out. Not particularly because the life I lead in the everyday world is something terrible, no, on the contrary. I needed to get away simply because without realizing it, I was well past due for a circadian resetting of my life rhythms; past due for a cartographic rerouting of the importance of getting from point A to point nowhere.

This was easier to accomplish without the fogging distractions of my daily patterns. Once the insane car driving of Houston highways, the repetitive chores of my housewife life had all been left behind, a radical 180 degree shift took place. Somewhere, soon past the starting of our arrival to St. Lucia, my husband and I rediscovered the joys of not having to go about decently dressed and properly coiffed; Of letting our kid run wild because no one, and most especially the sea, minded not a bit that he was more than his usual, rambunctious self; that my thoughts, trapped in the same mental asphalt I'd been pouring from in the last few months, would be easier to de-tar with the cadenced help of waves lapping at my subconscious.

I had forgotten what the stars looked like in the embedded setting of an indigo-hued sky. How clear the night could appear that when devoid of clouds, relieved of planes and spared the competition of man-made scintillation, that the erasing of many light-years worth of separation would seem an almost possible feat. I am almost certain that I touched their light these past few nights and if I didn't, well then I quite sure that their light touched me.

Now that I am back in Houston and away from the bountiful glory of the West Indies, I have promised myself to not overlook the axial grounding of sea and stars. I will look up more into the city-tarnished glow of the former and attempt to recall just as often the surging magic of the latter. And because I'm feeling a little sad after the closure of one of the nicest trips I have ever undertaken, I leave you with this melancholy little poem by Derek Walcott, Nobel Laureate and native St. Lucian. It seems to me that he echoes the archetypal solace one can always find in the sky and in the water.

After the Storm
by Derek Walcott

There are so many islands!
As many islands as the stars at night
on that branched tree from which meteors are shaken
like falling fruit around the schooner Flight.
But things must fall, and so it always was,
on one hand Venus and on the other Mars;
fall, and are one, just as this earth is one
island in archipelagoes of stars.
My first friend was the sea. Now, is my last.
I stop talking now. I work, then read,
cotching under a lantern hooked to the mast.
I try to forget what happiness was,
and when that don't work, I study the stars.
Sometimes is just me, and the soft-scissored foam
as the deck turns white and the moon open
a cloud like a door, and the light over me
is a road in white moonlight taking me home.
Shabine sang to you from the depths of the sea.

The sun sets over St. Lucia


  1. A couple of weeks ago, my sister and my kids and I got out of town and went south of here to an observatory on the top of a mountain. The number of stars crowding the sky was startling - it was even difficult to spot the constellations at first. That night did me more good than I can say...even if it's a bit disappointing to see our night sky here in comparison.

    I'm glad you had this time away - it sounds like it had exactly the effect on you that you needed. Savor the melancholy of something that's past - it's part of the deal.

  2. Welcome home! It is so true about getting away and getting in touch. Mexico was always my touchstone while living in Alaska! I could stare at the stars forever. But, its always fun to come home. I love and look forward to your blog.

  3. What a beautiful get away! I'm really happy that you escaped to an amazing place for inspiration and relaxation.
    You write like poetry. I love your blog!

  4. Jennifer: I know I read that beautiful post of yours. I now have the stars in common with you. ;-)

    Thank you.

    B! Thanks. Happy to be back even though I miss what I left in paradise.

    Michel: Thank you to you too. What part of Mexico did you go to? There are some lovely cities in Mexico. And I'm so glad to see you settling into Alexandria. How wonderful that Skip could see your new home.

    White on rice: It was. Lovely that is. Thank you. I was pretty psyched about it myself. How kind you are. I'm loving your blog back. Thank you for stopping by.


  5. Ah, Derek Walcott. I love his Alba:

    Dawn breaking as I woke,
    with the white sweat of the dew
    on the green, new grass.
    I walked in the cold, quiet as
    if it were the world beginning;
    peeling and eating a chilled tangerine.
    I may have many sorrows,
    dawn is not one of them.

    I must agree with him - and you seem to have had some lovely dawns on his native island. :-)

  6. "I try to forget what happiness was..." Sigh. I'm so very moved by that poem. And I know this melancholy after pleasure too well. There's is always longing to return to what was good, to keep that which is precious, even if that thing is time. So glad you got away, now cheer up and start planning your next vacation!

  7. Oh, St. Lucia, I went there with my mom and brother the first Christmas after my dad died (four months earlier), which made the trip, to say the least, bittersweet....We were in an all inclusive resort, though I didn't realize until they kept bringing us these ridiculously potent rum punches while we were waiting for our rooms to be ready that all-inclusive included alcohol. I realized right then that I would get no writing done on this trip--every morning after breakfast, I'd go down to the beach, paddle a kayak along the shore for an hour or two, then go back, shower off outdoors, then jump into the pool and swim over to the bar for my first mango daiquiri of the day. I was probably out cold most nights before I had a chance to see any stars. Nonetheless, I give myself credit for self-control for the fact that I didn't visit the Rasta craft stand, at the public beach next door, until the last day....


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