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That’s what MKL asked me on the phone this morning. Why? Because he remembers waiting in the car while I explored this abandoned ruin on Little Exuma, which was swarming with mosquitoes. I love abandoned and overgrown places. I’m drawn to them and always have been, so how could I resist this spot? And yes, I did get some decent shots, though not quite what I had hoped for. But I also picked up a little something else. A little something called Dengue Fever. This was back in November 2013, and it took me weeks to get through that bout – weeks of incredible body aches, light sensitivity, nausea, stomach problems, blinding headaches, fevers, chills, and doctors who had to look up the condition on their computers to tell me there was nothing they could do to help. I got the same symptoms last week, and couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me, until this morning, when I put the clues and the signs from the universe together to realize I was having another bout.

I am fortunate in many ways. Mosquitoes don’t seem to like me. On the other hand, I seem to be some kind of special prize for them. They save the finest and most powerful of their species just for me. Years ago, I got West Nile Fever; I had recurring bouts for years, every few months. And now I have Dengue, which doesn’t recur as frequently, but strikes with much more of a vengeance when it does. I’m glad I figured out what was wrong. At least I know that it will pass, though I don’t know when. Sometimes it helps if you can give your enemy a face and a name. But I can’t quite say yes to the question, “Was it worth it?”

Dengue Shot

Little Exuma, Bahamas.

Quote of the day: “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” — Friedrich Nietzsche

Daily gratitudes:
Wordpress’ rainbow header
Love in all its forms
Roses and a note from my daughter
“Wife” in many languages
That I get to see MKL tomorrow

While I’ve never done anything to be arrested for on a tropical island, it does happen. (I have been given a ride back to my hotel by the Chief of Police on Jost van Dyke, but only because I was walking the road ‘home’ late at night by myself.) I’ve often wondered if it would be worse to be jailed in a lovely tropical place than to be imprisoned in someplace flat and soulless, like Florence, Colorado, home to one of our nation’s SuperMax prisons. I think it would be unbearable to see the beauty of an island through the bars of a jail cell. But at least you would see that beauty.

This prison, obviously, can hold nothing now but memories within its crumbling walls.

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Great Exuma, Bahamas.

Quote of the day: “Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.” — Rachel Carson

Daily gratitudes:
The giant pale moon sinking behind the mountains this morning
The green of tulip leaves sprouting along the edge of my fence
Fathers talking to tiny babies in strollers
Feeling sleek in all black today
When Mr. Man hide under the comforter
Third-eye kisses

I am swimming today, beneath my skin, in a deep green pool of grief. On the surface, it doesn’t show, but I am fighting to keep my head above water. And I am getting tired of fighting.

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Little Exuma, Bahamas.

Quote of the day: “You will lose someone you can’t live without,and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly—that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.” — Annie Lamott

Daily gratitudes:
Research
When dreams and reality mingle
Entertaining socks
Books
Kisses
Baths

Sounds like the title of a gothic novel, doesn’t it? But it’s an exquisite place in Wales, that is still steeped in an air of mystery and devotion. The buildings on the grounds date from 1136 to 1536.  Would that we still valued our past to retain our buildings for nearly a thousand years.

Tintern, Monmouthshire, Wales.

Quote of the day: “Real strength never impairs beauty or harmony, but it often bestows it; and in everything imposingly beautiful, strength has much to do with the magic.”  —  Herman Melville

Daily gratitudes:
My happy (if slightly manic) daughter
Positive attitudes
Sharing with someone you love
My pork green chile so spicy it makes me weep
Faded roses
Mornings that feel like fall

 

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