Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Wild Side

OK, I'm going to try to make this my second-to-last Aruba post. (I may get desperate in an icy April and have to revisit but for now...Savvy and I are moving forward. That said, I still have to remember to get my thoughts down on the Natural Bridge.)

On our last day in Aruba, we went to the wild side of the island. Most of it is a national park, parched and laden with cacti and caves. Some of it is like I've already posted...rocky shoreline and crashing waves.

The northeast corner of the island has the same crashing waves but with long, empty beaches. There are no resorts here, I think, because there are reefs and rocks that make bathing fairly dangerous.

On the longest of these beaches, reachable only by jeep, Steve and I came upon some windsurfers. It's a wild sport here because the wind is jet speed. Just getting the kite-like sail from the sand into the water requires strength, persistence, and some luck. We followed on of these windsurfers through the whole process of harnessing, lifting the sail, and getting through the surf and into the water. It took some doing, and made me sad that I'm far too old and bad-bone-ridden to do it.

He finally got into the water. I got some good shots but this one captures the spirit of it. Strength and skill combined with raw Creation power is breath-taking. And it's yet another reminder of how God's wonder found off the beaten path.

The closest we got to this wonder was our Jeep. We got to watch, and be blessed.

If only I could have ridden the wind.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

No Disguising It

Take a look. Doesn't she look great? Savvy's almost full-grown, and is as graceful and lovely as her breeding predicted.

So cute when she's playing in the snow, isn't she? Know what she's doing?

She's digging for poops.

OK, all dogs eat poop. Cat poops are their favorites but the horse manure left on the trail, or the cow flaps that are distributed when the bovines across the street get out--yeah, these are good.

The dumb dog used to dig for Maddie's poops. Oh, I suppose I get it, given Maddie is her role model. But once she ran out of Maddie's droppings, she began digging for her own. She pries the lump out, tosses it around, and when I challenge her...gulp.

Her behavior is incestuous cannibalism, if you ask me. And I am in NO mood for her kisses, no siree.

There's a massive spiritual analogy in this one. But I'm not going there. No way.

I report. You apply.

Monday, February 1, 2010

A Rising Tide Lifts All...Dogs?

I am not going to presume to be an expert on Aruba. But my sister tells me that everyone--unless they're infirm--has a job in Aruba. There is no welfare. Certainly observation shows that the Arubans are busy, and pleasant. The 'friendly-island' slogan definitely applies.

Not having been here for six years or so, Steve and I noticed many new houses. Housing in Aruba is modest and simple but it looked like the bad economy has not reached the island. Given I'm not a demographer or economist, I have only one way to truly judge.

The dogs.

On our previous visits to Aruba, dog sightings were few, more toward the "country" side of the island, and those dogs seemed mangy. Life in a dry, equatorial island is not accomodating to canines.

Every neighborhood we drove through now has dogs. And the boys (our term for friendly dogs that hang out, regardless of gender) are looking good. Sleek and secure in their properties. Out in the early and late part of the days, sheltering in the midday heat.

Who needs statistics when you've got dogs to tell you life is good.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


So you've got your pool-sitters. They get out early, save lounge chairs for friends, establish themselves at the tables, nice people who are content to go no further than 100 feet from their rooms. And that's okay. Many are elderly and have earned their rest.

It's just not for me.

Then you've got the beach sitters. At the big hotels, you've got to get out early to save a spot under the grass umbrellas (the name of which I never came remember). One of the biggest hotels requires people to line up at 6 AM to receive a "flag". If they leave their beach chairs unattended for more than two hours, they will lose possession of their location.

My sister and her husband are too practical for all that. They buy beach chairs, go to the open-air beaches (where the waves are better) and happily share shade with everyone.

Steve and I...well, we're known for adventuring. Or, as my sisters used to put it, risking everyone's lives so we can inherit.

The most famous natural landmark in Aruba is the "natural bridge". (I'll post about that another time...the natural bridge is its own spiritual reminder of mortality.) The natural bridge is on the wild side of the island, requiring a ride over bumpy dusty roads. All the tour busses go there, unloading people into the parking lot. They take their pictures, buy expensive souvenirs, then get back on the bus.

We take a ride and I spot sand way beyond the natural bridge...and beyond any road...unless you're riding a 4-wheeler to go over volcanic rock.

So I say to Steve, "let's hike there."

Aruba isn't the best place for hiking. We're near the equator, and noontime sun is brutal, even for natives. However, the wind on the wild side of the island blows steadily off the water, with nothing to block it. There's the illusion of bearable, and sunscreen does the rest.

So we hike. And it's not bad, and not long. I trip once, fall and don't break anything, thank you, Jesus. We come to a private beach, water too violent to enter but gorgeous just the same. We go in to our ankles and just savor God's glory.

And then, I spot more sand.

"Let's hike there," I say and because Steve is the right guy for me, he says, "Sure."

So we hike some more, discover a hidden little river and a bigger beach. And such blessed privacy and beauty.

All this to say...God's glory is worth hiking for. Look beyond, and take the risk.

I'll remember my sister's kindness and the lovely company she and my brother-in-law Peter provide. These are special moments that bless us.

I will, however, forget all the hotels and restaurants and even the nice pool we enjoy.

But this...this private beach where God's glory pounds with every crashing wave. This I will never forget.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Lifted Up!

The seas have lifted up, O LORD,
the seas have lifted up their voice;
the seas have lifted up their pounding waves.
Mightier than the thunder of the great waters,
mightier than the breakers of the sea--
the LORD on high is mighty.
Psalm 93: 3-4

Monday, January 25, 2010

Paradise Found?

So I'm sitting here, 8 in the morning, the wind sweet on my face, the temperature a bearable high 70s, the birds flitting overhead, and the wind again, like a constant chorus of rejoicing as it ruffles the palms. The waves on the sand are like God's heartbeat.
I wonder, is this was Eden was like?

How amazing to step out the door and know I won't be assaulted by icy rain or heavy snow or sullen skies. Could I live like this? Easy answer, one perhaps my Canadian and Coloradan friends might agree with (though maybe not this day, in January.)

I can love the warmth and the wind, the easy ocean, the lovely people (Aruba IS the friendly island). But those of us who have been blessed with variety will not give up our snow easily, even when it's April and good grief, we've had another foot of it! And given Aruba or New Hampshire in flaming October, I suspect I'd choose New Hampshire.

I wonder about the people of Aruba, folks who grow up here and have every day sun-filled and wind-kissed. How could they see this as stunning beauty, when never having experienced those twenty-below days, when I have to slime my face with Vaseline to keep my skin from frost-bite. Surely my dog would chose not to live here--the Aruba dogs move slowly, and wisely. They do not bound or soar, like Savvy does.

Did it snow in Eden, I wonder? Did the leaves turn blazing colors, then drift on cool winds to blanket the ground? Or was it days of sun and sweet air and the Lord drifting through, blessing all He had done.
And did Adam and Eve take it all for granted? Did they want more variety?

Did they know they would bring snow and ice to the world?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

A Rose By Any Other Name

So Steve and I are here in Aruba, a guest of my sister and brother-in-law. I was going to post about missing my dog; or the stretching Janice does with us every morning; or how the waves crash in and then crash out (how does THAT happen?).

So I pull up Blogspot and discover everything is written in Dutch! Aruba is a Dutch protectorate, so that explains the Dutch, I suppose.

Somehow, my physical location prompts the appropriate language to be displayed.

And isn't that just like the Holy Spirit? Catching us right where we are.