Arriving in the dark night in Rincon, Puerto Rico, I was greeted by the silhouette of two sand palms standing majestically side by side. My skin soaking up the moist tropical air, I took in a very deep breath. The night was anything but quiet, abuzz with the symphony of tree frogs and the riches of equatorial night creatures. A soft tumbling sound creeping into my consciousness, I realized I was hearing the crashing of the waves against the shore. Upon waking the next day, I heard the clicking of a tiny creature's feet, a hermit crab making his way across the tile floor of the living room. As I opened the front door, I was greeted by a wide-eyed lizard climbing up a crooked palm tree. Behind every tree, in every hidden corner, this land was swarming with life. Sheltered by the canopy of mango tress, I walked the path from our cottage to the sea. Buoyant and brilliant tropical flowers were sprinkled along the way. The ocean was a clear Caribbean turquoise blue. With soft sand under toes, we walked the length of the shore, exploring the treasures of the seascape. Overripe mangos and coconuts littered the ground, mangos which we buy for three dollars each at home. We feasted on these bounties, pulled fresh from the tree. Never have I tasted mango so perfectly sweet. As we swam in the warm ocean, I wondered why anyone would ever leave such a perfect place, where life is so easily sustained. Back up the winding narrow roads where hillside meets the sea, we wandered, weary and smelling of salt, back to our seaside cottage. I felt an acute tinge of sadness when I thought of leaving the next day. Why should we leave such a dreamy land? We could easily live off the land and the sea, grow a big garden and live easily. Our kids could run with no clothes, down to the ocean for a daily swim, play with the crabs and collect sea shells. Ahh, but I was dreaming...or was I?
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