The Maldives: Half A World Away

I counted five shooting stars on the way back from the bathroom last night.

The North Star was so bright, I mistook it for the moon.

Just now, stepping from the outdoor shower, I saw a blue-gray porcupine fish the size of a springer spaniel floating sentry at the stairs leading to the lagoon. The shallow aqua water stretches for two hundred yards to a line of white-capped, wind-brushed waves curling over the reef.

Beyond that: deep blue.

I come to you now (courtesy of Research In Motion, Ltd.) from a 2800-square-foot, three bedroom, two-deck, three-entrance, over-water villa at Soneve Gili Resort & Six Sense Spa on Lankanfushi Island in the North Male Atol of the Republic of Maldives.

We are three planes (New York-Dubai, Dubai-Columbo, Columbo-Male), one boat, and some 9368 miles southeast from New York City where the hour hand sweeps precisely eleven hours prior.

We are half a world away.

By way of demonstration:

Yesterday morning, in a pre-dawn snorkle just before departing the more-stylish but less-luxurious Cocoa Palm Bodu Hithi for here, we spotted a unicorn fish, giant moray eel, and two eagle rays just off shore.

Which says nothing of the table, brain and staghorn corals; needle, black-footed clown and lion fish; green turtles, leopard moray and garden eels; and white-tipped reef sharks we’ve seen over the course of some half dozen scuba dives last week.

In the moments between our morning snorkle and afternoon boat, Abbi and I sat on our back porch silently staring at the sea. Reflecting on our first week here, one market by sunrise, sunset, and the ebb and flow of tides, I considered our perception of the passage of time.

A yellowed leaf fell lazily from a hibiscus tree, and I thought, ‘Here, I am marking this tree’s life cycle one leaf at a time. At home, I miss entire seasons.’

This necklace of tiny islands here in the Indian Ocean is teaming with life and brimming with beauty above and below the sea.

Even with Bruce Springsteen’s Magic on the Bose Surround Sound Stereo™, it’s difficult to recall the din of Times Square. Moreover, it’s difficult to recall why wouldn’t trade that island for this in a heartbeat.

Puffers for blowhards? Clown fish for clowns? Dhonis for cabs? Water for concrete?

It’s gonna be a long walk home.

Good news is: I have an able partner, and she’s in it for the long haul.

Right now, though, she’s in the lagoon up to her knees. So you’ll forgive me, dear reader, if I dive in…

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