Trees, leaves, branches, continue endlessly, below the glassy surface of calm, undisturbed waters. I can’t tell what’s real and what is a reflection on the still water.
Time has stopped, all other humans cease to exist; it’s just me, nature, and all it’s lovely creatures.
I hear the distant howls of some animal unknown.
Every now and then, I hear a motor roar, reminding me that civilization isn’t far.
The lush green, set amongst an overcast sky, reflects upon the water so that it appears completely green as well.
I gently – slowly, quietly – move the paddle left, right, left, right, displacing the water ever so slightly, feeling as one with this natural paradise.
I emerge from the mangroves into a vast, open pool of water. I can see houses in the distance but I neither see nor hear people or boats. I continue to paddle toward an island that, in a kayak, seems infinitely far. I feel as though I’ll never reach this island for my paddles seem useless, almost as if I’m standing (kayaking) still. With my human ability for rational thought, I would think I wasn’t getting any closer. When will this end?
I’m moving quickly now. No quicker than before I’m sure, only now I have trees, houses, other boats to ponder, and to compare my speed to. Relative to these immobile things, I can tell I’m moving, and moving at a decent speed, too.
I wonder how far away the hot springs are? Am I almost there? Are they still 20 minutes away? What if I don’t get there soon? I’ll miss my boat to Livingston. No, it must be close, I’ve been going for a while now. All of a sudden, I see a collection of boats, hear people talking and laughing. I follow the curve of the land, and just like that, I see what I’ve been waiting for.
I stop for a licuado and some coconut treat that’s too sweet and not very tasty. I’ve got 45 minutes to make it back before my boat leaves, so I drink my licuado, use the bathroom facilities, and get back on my way. The tiny little pool of water looks lovely, but I have no desire to get in.
With each passing minute, I move closer and closer to civilization, as evidence by the increasing number of boats, houses, and of course, people.
I watch one lady park her canoe at her dock. I glance over to the house to see a naked little girl walking outside. She squats down on the ground, beside the doorway to her house, and waves at me. As I begin to wave back, I notice a stream of liquid falling from her small body to the concrete ground below. I wonder if that’s their usual pee-spot: just outside their house doorway (just a doorway, no door). Then I wonder what they do for number two. The women makes her way to the house and greets the little naked girl with an empty bladder. Just another day in Guatemala.
I park my canoe at the hotel, grab a quick lunch, and board the boat to Livingston to leave this jungle paradise.