There were two speeds. Slow and comatose. Two temperatures. Hot and hot with a breeze.
In my original post in this blog “Chasing Bimini”, which began February 2012, I introduced the notion that I had been looking for the perfect destination in life for a long time. I imagined that place to be Bimini, which at first I thought was an exotic South Sea island paradise. After finally looking up Bimini on a map, I discovered that it was 45 miles off the coast of Florida and that it was made up mostly of fishing villages. That didn’t stop me from wanting to go there. And I’m really glad I did. It was an awakening I needed.
So yes, we made it to Bimini!
We found it to be as expected—beautiful and unhurried. There were a couple of restaurants, but few shopping venues and attractions. The beaches were pristine and the water was translucent aquamarine and the sunsets …well, stunning. We stayed on the South Island, which boasts quiet and solitude. In a resort that advertised no-frills comfort, it was totally what we anticipated.
In the four days we spent in Bimini I tried to channel the spirit of Hemingway and see it as he did. From Papa’s point of view it had to be heaven! Fish, boats, water, and no-doubt alcohol would have flowed to his liking, which I’m sure he lapped up vigorously. (Hemingway was a Biminite during Prohibition in the U.S. so he took advantage of the rum running commerce in the islands.)
Me? I wanted to be a sponge, too—absorbing my surroundings so I could figure out why I had been chasing this kind of place for so long. I discovered more about myself than I had imagined—and I allowed myself the freedom to be honest about the pursuit.
One of the things I thought I most cherished in my dreams of Bimini was solitude, and I definitely found that on the island. I experienced the quiet and distance from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. But it came with loneliness and isolation. I had longed for inspiration and headspace to write. Instead, my mind became empty—numb—and soon I became bored. I had wished for autonomy. Instead I felt useless.
I remember now the words of 20th century writer Ezra Pound, “Literature does not exist in a vacuum. Writers as such have a definite social function exactly proportional to their ability as writers. This is their main use.” Even Hemingway didn’t stay on the island (or at any place for that matter) very long. He had to interact, to place himself in situations where he could observe and create characters, which sometimes meant war zones of various kinds.
Dorothy had Oz to teach her what I went to Bimini to learn. It wasn’t “there’s no place like home,” but there’s no place free from stress or pain or opposition. It’s the fallen-world syndrome and as soon as I embrace that, I believe I can live a joyful, fulfilling, and creative life pretty much anywhere at any time. Now, when the angst bug bites I won’t swat it or try to chase it. I will stop and let it flitter away on its own because I’m not going anywhere.
The Apostle Paul wrote: “I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation…” Philippians 4: 11-12.