On Chichen Itza and Christmas Wreaths

Last week I plunged into a scared well of the Mayans, called a Cenote and explored the ruins of one of the new 7 wonders of the world, Chichen Itza.  I’d wanted to do both things for nearly four decades, and they were every bit as wonderful as I could have hoped.  The ROAD to them, however was fraught with sales-y tour guides, unexpected stops on the road to allow entrepreneurial tequila sellers board and push their wares, and a lot of hours on a bus where you could only go #1.  I am good about travelling in general, and used to things being marginally out of my control, but the constant and overt buy-things-from-impoverished-people push was annoying and far from educational.

The trip to the Yucatan Peninsula was one I had earned through my company, Arbonne, and as usual it was to a 5-star classy all-inclusive resort with hot tubs in the rooms, hammocks on the ocean-front balconies, white sand beaches with free snorkeling, lots of restaurants with interesting food (side note, I discovered Prickly Pear is super tasty) and all the booze one could possibly drink.  Craig and I are not drinkers, so we had room service replace our fridge full of beer with sparkling water, and left the full bottles of gin, vodka, rum, and bourbon alone.  No wonder tourists die from alcohol poisoning at these resorts, they make it so easy. 

The six days slid by quickly, but we did have time to finally, finally take a breath and relax fully – our first time to be able to do so since The Fire seven months ago.  We slept long and deep and took naps too.  Snorkeled and watched the little fishes, got up early to watch the miracle of sunrise over the ocean.  It gave us time to pause, reflect and see who we are now, what our priorities are, and how to proceed from here.

Big reveal: We’d like to own a house again, and create a warm space filled with memories and things that matter for our kids and eventual grandkids.  Grow tomatoes.  Hand out snickers bars at Halloween. Decorate for Christmas. That might seem a pedestrian wish, but for these past 7 months we have been spartan, steering clear of having many possessions. For me, it’s been visceral fear of losing things, so I haven’t bought much in the way of clothing, or books or the bookcases to put on them.  Our walls are still bare of art, and if you’ve been in any of our homes prior to The Fire, you’ll recall we always had multiple bookcases full of a variety of books and lots of art filling the walls.  We had some beautiful pieces by Malcom Liepke and Bev Doolittle among others, and of course our son’s photography and all the family photos. 

I guess I am talking about finding trust again – trust enough to once more become a discriminating gatherer.  Having faith in God or the Universe and the hope that our little nuclear family has suffered the last of our allotment of natural disasters.  I know we all have a turn in the barrel, but we’ve gone through the ‘94 earthquake in LA, a terrible flood in our home in Johnson City, and now The Fire… we could really give locusts or rivers of blood a skip, if that could be arranged, please.

The good news is that coming home from the trip, we have a direction to head that we had the time and the space to think through, and it’s one that looks like it might include buying art again, and getting a platter that can hold a Thanksgiving turkey, and more than one pot to cook with.  Gosh, we could go all out and get a Christmas tree and a stand, and a cloth to cover the stand, and ornaments… well, that could be a stretch.  A Wreath though.  Definitely a wreath.  And that is progress.  

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