Ilha Grande

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February in New York.

The weather Tends to get me down. I retreat into memories to bring a little space and air into my life…

For a while I lived in Rio de Janeiro. I loved that city so much that I never wanted to leave, even for a day. A friend invited me on an adventure. His timing was perfect: Carnaval was just ending and I was choking on the closeness of the city, the people, the beauty, the music, the trash. I left with him.

We took a bus to a dock, where we payed a fisherman to bring us past the scattered buttons of tree covered islands to a beach that no road leads to, only a restaurant fed by boats. We waded in the ocean to catch another, smaller boat.

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In the late afternoon, the smallest boat dropped us off at an overgrown boardwalk with the sign “Perigo”: danger. A short walk through the forest brought us down to a small bay with clear water and shady trees. One lonely fisherman and his dog welcomed us in his sunga bathing suit. We set up camp.

That night, under the stars and alone, I lay in the shallow water by the shore. The inkiness of the blue/black sky contrasted with the clarity of the blue/black water. Little waves barely moved over my submerged body, and my stomach reflected the moon. The deepest breaths filled my lungs and traveled down to my toes, the ends of my hair. My eyes and heart filled with fresh air while the fresh ocean cleaned my body. The sound of waves lapping my body cleaned my ears. I felt my roots in nature tingling, wondering if they could grow and settle. I knew I would leave but I let the place replenish my biological self.

I can still tap into this memory when I need a sip of freshness to revitalize the dormancy of the winter city.

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