Sunday, August 9, 2009

Deaf Swimming

Our last day at the Catalonia Bavaro Beach begins the same as the previous days:
I wake at 6 and fear a day of rain as it appears dark. But as I have now learned from the past week here; the sun rises much later than it does at home.The sun seems shy and perhaps a bit bashful at first. It fools us tourists with it's early morning feeble and almost anemic like power, that in hours will heat the sand of the beach and render it too hot to walk on.

By 7, coffee is made and drank in our resort condo. Mary and I have, for the past week, have enjoyed the eye opening brew our balcony. Our condo number is 19. 19 of 22 on our road or path. we are 3 away from the ocean and a brief 1 minute walk to the beach that we do daily first thing to secure prime real estate for the six or seven hours that we will spend each day.

The ideal location/location/location is a spot that offers a palm tree. Not too tall as to not offer shade, and not too short as to whack ones melon on each hammock exit! (Done that!) The prime spot must be close enough to waters edge so view is relatively unobstructed, but should also offer a short walk to offer refreshments that provide us with fresh squeezed cold juices in the early day, and scrumptious cold coconut slush iced/laced with dark rum, for afternoon mellowing out.

Once real estate is secured, a short walk for breakfast is next. Ingredients for omelette's are selected today.
In previous mornings, eggs, sunny side side up with sides of fried salami, bacon, or ham were chosen.
Alternate days fresh fruit and French toast is chosen for the break in nights fast. Today, being the last day here, Mary and I opt for the "Full-on/mega loaded" omelet. I add to little remaining space on my plate, a sugar coated donut that moments earlier was plucked out of a hot fryer by one of the many chefs that toil to treat us daily. Still hot to touch and taste, the "oh so bad" donut will be be a wonderful desert to end our last breakfast here on Bavaro Beach.

We will board a bus at 5 this day, to take us to Punta Cana airport. It is 15 minutes away.
I am not sad to be leaving, as sadness is an emotion that I have not felt in some time.
Yes, I would love to stay longer. I so love it here!
I love the ocean, and the peace it seems to bring me.
I love the "Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather", if I may borrow from Disney's "Sleeping Beauty". But my yearning for more time here is based on my current peaceful and contented mind set. All of the writings that you have read from our Dominican stay (assuming you have read the past 4 instalments), has been written in pen, in a journal, on the beach.
Each stroke of pen has been made as I face out on the gentle ripple of a spectacular blue and green Caribbean ocean.

Much of the time, in the past 7 days, my mind has been void of any and all thoughts except the view in front of me. It is at that moment. That sweet spot. or that Buddhist/Zen space of "NOW", that I pick up a pen pen at write.
And that moment is analogous, to opening a vein if you will.
Word and thoughts spill like blood once that mindset is achieved.

To really get into "ones head", one really has to get into "ones head".
So you see, today (last day here), my premature melancholy is not for the the sun, rum and sand, although they all will be missed. My despondent state is based on the mindset that I have recently achieved, and the worry that it will go away.
That place where I wanted to get to and succeeded!
My goal will be to maintain this place as best I can. To stay in this zone, or as close to it, upon return to the rodent race.

I have thought much about, but concerned little for little for Dan (Guitar Boy) while here.
He is in week 2 of "School of Rock" This has been his annual Summer day excursion, every July, for the past 4 years. He will be in his rock n' roll element, as well as looked after before and after "school" by Mary's adult son, who has moved in for the week to be Dan's "roommate".
I am anxious to see how the boy is, and for him to regale stories about making music. He is the love of my life, and I miss him. I can't wait to hug him!

This trip was many firsts in my deaf life that now approaches 23 months in length, and fourteen months in the digital sounding world of my implanted cochlear device.
Deaf swimming was a first that is most memorable.

On day one (July 26th) I sat on oceans beach with shirt off, but magnet of cochlear processor clearly strapped on. I took in all the sounds of laughter which despite the diversity of nations here in this resort, is the same wonderful sound in any language. After three or four hours of unrelenting sun, I tucked away my processor (those very expensive suckers cannot get wet!) and walked down the beach that moments earlier were filled with noise, but without my CI on falls into an eerie silence.

I can see the same children running and laughing, and I watch the same adults chatting and playing beach volleyball, but my soundtrack is gone! I am once again Deaf as the coconut shells that lie on the beach.
Deaf as the wheel of cheese that I see nightly at the buffet.
I instantly go back to the ever popular brain created auditory hallucinations of "Dave FM"

When I walk into the ocean, I notice that my balance (which has no inner workings) becomes more challenged. With no inner balance I have trained my brain to accept vision and the touch and feel of my body, its only GPS.
So when ocean floor enters the equation, David's brain gets pissed off, and makes me fall many times. For the most part it goes unnoticed, but some afternoons the barkeep looks a worrisome that his "Coco Loco's" have made this patron "Poco Loco"!

When I dive underwater I expect the same sounds from memory of underwater play over my life. The sounds that I heard when I was a child, exploring the underwater . That eerie underwater noise or sound. (Or is it a lack of sound?).
But in my deafness the underwater world does not differ an iota from the world above oceans surface.

The ocean is clear, and the schools of fish are constantly visible and plentiful. For the most part, the bottom is sand, but there are areas of rocks that can be seen and noted.
Mary and I walk out one day a good 1/2 a kilometer, exchanging soft sand for underwater plant growth under foot, but it is an amazing walk out into the ocean!

In the water I am a carefree nine year old again, when the days seemed to last forever at the beach, and summers lasted for eternity.
So today feels like labour day. That feeling that a young boys stomach gets, on the last day of summer vacation.
It will hit me again when I board the airplane tonight; and again when we land; and no doubt when I wake up tomorrow at home.

It will really hit home when I realize that the only man who will fix me an omelet....





Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

hi David,
you have done a superb job on your BLOG.. You are very talented in your writing. I thank you for covering our first vacation so amazingly accurate and with the words I struggle to find. I thank God everyday for you being in my life and the special person that you are.


Laura ~Peach~ said...

soooooo wonderful. i am so feeling the zen and so happy for you guys to have gotten to do this!!!!
it is so sweet of you to share it with us in such a way that we can feel there with you. thank you david!
love n hugsfrom the hotter side of hell Ga :)

Jan D-M said...

Hi, David and welcome home!

Thank you for sharing memories from your trip and for putting up pictures to boot! It seems so "new" to see pics on your blog, but I like it.

I hope you can maintain the spirit of peace and calm which you captured in the DR as you head back to the busyness of work.

Anonymous said...

So many comments I wish to leave for you to read, my friend:

-- "scrumptious cold coconut slush iced/laced with dark rum, for afternoon mellowing out." This should be an occasional occurrence, eh? I happen to know the secret ingredient is fresh coconut, so remember this when you want to re-create the experience this winter. :)

-- You have Mary in your life, so I suspect the zen-like state you have achieved is not going to disappear. :) And perhaps you should make this kind of vacation an annual event?

-- I now have smiling thoughts of Sleeping Beauty's fairy godmothers dancing through my head. Thank you for that! :)

-- Dan's "School of Rock" sounds wonderful. I bet he has been having a good time with Mary's son for company at home, too.

-- I love that you have been writing this with a pen instead of a laptop. Your "voice" has been different because of your relaxed state of mind.

-- "Dave FM" makes me smile. I wonder if you can bring to mind the underwater sounds the next time you go swimming?

Welcome back! I hope the transition is an easy one, with many happy memories to hold whenever you feel the stress of the workday coming on.

JennyMac said...

Great writing. Its not easy to take your reader with you. Bravo.

Lori said...

It has been way too long since I have had the priveledge of visiting you here and had this opportunity to comment. I cannot express how happy I am for you and for Mary. I cried tears of joy when I read your post about Mary and what you have found with her. I now know that you truely do understand what I have meant when I, myself have blogged about finding the love of my life.

I am so thankful that you have had this time away with Mary. I loved the pictures...both of you look so happy and peaceful. David, I am truly over joyed over all that has come into your life. I am glad that you were open to receiving it into your life. Keep embracing what has come to you. I am so glad that you have shared it with us. I am sorry it has taken me so long to respond to your wonderful news. I have certainly missed visiting you here! Hugs, Lori

Jennifer Bruno Conde said...

Fabulous photos and superb description of your vacation with Mary.

I join others in declaring that I'm so glad you are happy!


Mary Ellen said...

I've so enjoyed your descriptions of your vacation. It's been a terrific respite. I am so glad you had this experience - especially with such a wonderful partner by your side.

Welcome back to reality, Dave! May the warmth and tranquility have travelled back with you!

themom said...

I love the pics. Looks like you had a wonderful vacation. I spent my summer vacations for almost 20 years in Cancun and Riviera Maya. My new goal is Punta Cana. Thanks.

kim said...

Hi David,
It's been awhile since I've checked your blog. Interesting post about the swimming. I've forgotten that there used to be sound underwater. Have gone snorkeling several times the past few years and find it incredibly peaceful. I almost never take my hearing aids to the beach for fear of sand and also the possibility someone might steal my stuff.

I'm getting implanted next month, with the new S12 hybrid not quite yet on the open market. This should open up a whole new world.

Cute pic of you and Mary by the way. Sounds like you're having a wonderful summer.

Dee said...

Hi David,

Still recovering I see.

I recently posted about our lovely coconut water and am wondering what exactly is the heavenly sounding coconut slush iced/laced with dark rum.

Looking forward to more.

@Mary, we thank God for you.

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