Saturday, November 24, 2012

Men of Leisure, Men of Passion on the Shores of Sabah

 I was walking on the beaches of Borneo today thinking about sand.  I know… I know…sand?  What’s up, Hartenstein?  Sun baked already?

 Actually, sand is pretty cool.  Pulverized over millions of years, sand was once an object like a prehistoric shell or a Martian meteorite crashed to our surface or some flashy coral Polynesian toilet seat from the dawns of time that has been worn away into nothing but fine silt dust at the edges of our world that seeps in between your toes or gathers in your hair or the pockets of your swim trunks and rinses away in the shower.  Hammered.  That’s what happens after millennium after millennium of crushing punishment.  Sand.
 Standing there on the Borneo beach that morning, on the shores of Sabah, I was really thinking about leisure.  There were cool breezes and drinks with umbrellas.  Daughters wrestling with starfish, snorkeling in the shallow pools.  Palm trees whispering love sonnets.  Paradise.  Exactly where a man hopes to find himself at the end of his life.  Content.
 I wasn’t really thinking about oceans of sand at that time.  Heat so harsh your pores bleed dust.  Sun a guillotine razor on your neck.  Lethargic black flies in asthmatic gasps resting on your flesh too weak to circle or swoon.  Surrounded at all sides by men of no passion.  Who crave nothing, desire nothing, pursue nothing but blind belief.  The sand does that to them.  Sand that spends thousands of years seeping slowly into their minds and brains, lobotomizing them.

Nope!  That’s not going to be me.  I knew that morning as I grabbed my daughter’s hands and raced in and out of the waves laughing that even though I was in paradise I would leave it soon for another place.    I would do it for passion, so that it would never die, never slip away.  As my daughters licked the melted ice cream from their wrists while the sun went down, I dozed off.  Content, that even a man of leisure must sometimes put his passions to bed for the night.

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