Snorkeling in Akumal

Big fish, little fish. Big coral, little coral. Brainy coral, waving fan coral.

The sound underwater. The tick tick tick of the fish eating, spitting out rocks. Silly fish.

The gift from the sea (to borrow Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s brilliant phrase) is the sheer existence of it all. The vast ‘what it is-ness’ of the reef on the Mayan coast. Like the turtle.

The turtle lives its life. It doesn’t ask, ‘Am I a good enough turtle? A hard enough worker? An excellent mother? A good writer? How come I haven’t won the Pulitzer? A Fulbright?’

No, the turtle asks, ‘Is that food? I will go to it.’ Or it says, ‘Is that danger? I will stay away from it.’

This is a lesson in simply existing. Being. Going towards the good. Staying away from the bad. If the turtles in the bay can do it, I can, at least try. Go to food. Stay away from danger.

While I worry about my husband’s health, my kids’ education, politics, the environment, my career, there are turtles – and I saw about five on each of my brief snorkeling forays in the Akumal Bay. The turtles are living in the wild, unaware of the new airline regulations between Mexico and Florida. They are citizens of the world. Love that.

And so long as there are turtles that are part of the incredible diversity of the Mayan coast reef, then all is still all right with the world. And I can just stop worrying.

Instead just ask Is that food? I will go to it. Is that danger? I will stay away from it.

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