My past two New Years celebrations have taken place on two different islands.
Last year’s island was completely off the charts. Bear with me as I time travel back to India… Zipping through Kerala’s flooded rice fields, our speedy auto arrived at a loading dock, where we then tiptoed along the muddy banks, balancing our weight as we crammed into the lower deck of a leaky little tug boat. With no way of knowing if we were going the right way, we slowly glided through the back waters of Alleppey- the straight and narrow trustingly lead us to our deserted island. All the island’s special events canceled because of rain, it was a charming New Years spent in a cramped room surrounded by happy Indian families. Taking advantage of the occasion, we carved a well worn path to and from the buffet tables. Only the best of biyrani and tikka masala were served. The sky dried up. The party dwindled, only my sister, music, laughter, and I remained. Perfect company. Outside, mosquitos danced in the glow of the gaslit lamps. Above, stars outnumbered and burned competitively brighter.
This year’s island was a more popular choice; people lined up along the iskele waiting to board the fast ferry providing direct transportation. We weren’t the only ones itching to escape the city. Racing through icy blue waves, seagulls bobbed in and out of the tailwinds until we reached the island. Although we went during the off-season and therefore had to bundle up in layers, the cold did not in the least bit deter our New Years adventure. For even before we touched land, my breath caught at the sight of something strangely familiar: the color GREEN. Green trees. Green grass. Green air (not really, but it could’ve been!). Over half of the island was covered in forest- a nice relieve from the concrete jungle I live in. To further this paradise, there were no motorized vehicles allowed. People either walked, rode bicycles, or drove buggies pulled by horses to get from A to B. Touring the island by way of horse-drawn carriage, we gulped in the calm, the clean, and the green. Better yet, the Marmara Sea served as the island’s backdrop- it was blue meets blue as far as the eye could see.
Plucked from life as I know it, free of daily distractions, and plopped smack dab in the middle of God’s beauty– this is how a new year should start. With a refreshed soul and a refreshed perspective.
Two islands. Two beginnings done right.
#Nature heals. #Reality brought back to simplicity. #I am small. My God is big.