My eyes are bleary, eyelashes split by Guatemalan sun. My hair is damp and tangled in hot, wet air. I tug a tee-shirt over the damp swimsuit that I must have fallen asleep in. I hope there aren’t any spiders lurking in the corners of our tiny cabin this morning. I don’t really mind the bugs, though. The mellow hum of a million songs blends into the sweetest melody at night. An unusual peace has come over me, a steadfastness that comes with the acceptance of adventure.
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But today is a big day—a day that has flapped my unflappable-ness. My throat is dry and I feel as though a wriggling ball of worms has lodged in my lower intestines, hissing and gurgling at me as I finish my breakfast. You’re a terrible swimmer. You’re really not very strong—they probably think of you as the weak link, anyway. Don’t ask for a life jacket. Only idiots ask for a life jacket.
I’m sorted into a group. We trudge alongside a wide, winding river, lazy in its curves and ripples. I couldn’t imagine how it could be so relaxed in a time like this. The guide leads us up a steep path, up the path to an adventure.
The cave entrance is dark and drippy, majestic in age and in otherworldliness. We are handed dipped, white candles, and begin our journey. The water flowing around my feet is silky, cool—comforting. The candle shakes in my hand, from nerves or excitement, I can’t tell.
We wade farther in, and darkness is defeated by the cozy glow of candles, surrounding me, warming me. We reach a drop-off now, a slip slide of worn down rock that gives way to a place where water wells up and the bottom is too deep to find with your toes. I sit on the limestone edge. I hand my candle off. I slide into the water. Without drama, without excuses or fear. Submerged in the finest silk, fingers stretching, gentle ripples caress my cheeks. Silence and candlelight replace the air, and in this land of infinite grace, my fear has fled.
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