Startled into the present.

It had been a busy morning. OK, busy after I realized that more sleep wasn’t going to happen. I was on the beach at 8am taking photographs. There was some sort of event happening at the school across the street from my hotel so I went over there and shot some more.

Hunger dictated my next move. Found a place where the staff could answer my question about what kind of fruit came with the fruit and yogurt and settled in. First off was a quick review of the photos, deleting the obvious failures. I wondered about doing the second pass on my netbook instead of at a net cafe to save some baht. The eggs arrived and I realized that I should have ordered toast because the yolks were runny and that is where the iron is, oh darn I forgot to bring an iron tab should I set an alarm on my cell for that, oh good the fruit and yogurt is here, maybe if I let the yolk congeal a bit on the plate I can scoop it up with a spoon, do I have a spoon? – yes with the yogurt, I wonder how that tastes …

Time stood still and my conscious mind went blank as both were overwhelmed by the happiness in my mouth.

The intensity of my transition to the present startled me. All I was able to do was savor the taste. When my ability to function returned I knew that the only thing to do was to slowly enjoy each and every bite.

So I stopped thinking about past and future, stopped multi-tasking and just soaked it in. Felt my dry skin and the faint breeze on it. Sniffed the ginger in my tea and enjoyed that before taking another sip. Watched a cat walk across the bricks until he found a suitable spot for grooming. Noticed how the incoming tide of caffeine gradually washed over the sleep remnants and found an equilibrium with the antihistamine I took before heading out. Savored each blissful taste of the fruit and yogurt.

Be Here Now. It’s a simple concept to understand and difficult to put into practice. I learned and practiced some Zen in my early 30s as part of a spiritual growth process. Learning how to shut the mind up and just be did not come easy nor often, but I recognize it when it happens. The deepest mental relaxation occurs when I am in the moment.

Yesterday I walked into the sea and kept walking. The slope of the beach was shallow and I gave up before finding water deep enough to swim in and just plopped down on my back. Jostled by the 6 inch high swell and caressed by the bath warm water I watched two men on a nearby skiff pull in a drift net. They didn’t catch much. I think I would have usually gotten bored and stopped watching but the pace of their carefully folding the net and occasionally pulling in a fish matched my need to just slow down and be.

The slower pace of Dumaguete was a welcome relief after months in Cebu. The slow pace of just hanging out on an almost empty beach in the tropics is a welcome relief after my last minute rushing to make travel plans and the hurry up and wait of jet age travel.

I came here thinking that relaxing would be a good thing. I’m beginning to comprehend how much I needed it. I wonder how much of the appeal of Dumaguete was that I needed to relax.

To go off on a tangent, what is it about Thai yogurt and fruit that can not be duplicated in the states? This is my second trip to Thailand and the concoction is just as good as I remember it. Simply marvelous.

The tropical fruits are fresher, that’s a given. The worst mangoes and papayas I’ve had in SE Asia are mostly better than the best ones I’ve had in the states (not counting Hawaii). The yogurt is different but I can’t say how. I’d love to do a side by side taste comparison.

And yes, I do know what I’m having for breakfast tomorrow.


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