This is my remembrance of my trip to the bioluminescent bay in Vieques
, off the southeast shore of Puerto Rico
. Every word is true.
swimming in stars ...
you step onto the boat
in the dark, walking over a thin plank laid out over shallow mud. the boat glides almost silently through warm waters. a glass portal
in its bottom lets you see the increasing brilliance of the blue glow over the water, light
emanating from every point where the craft has disturbed the creatures of this sheltered sea
. white jets of faint foam are illuminated more and more brightly as you reach more concentrated areas of the bay
one by one you slip into the water
. each person before you emits a gasp as he watches himself enveloped in light, renewed with every hint of motion
, and you witness the splashes of brilliance that go up with each new entry. the awe
slowly dissipates into giggles and delight. wonder makes children of us all.
you plunge. and suddenly you are reborn as a child of the stars
every time you move millions of points of light spread out all around you. you raise your hand out of the water and flecks of fluorescent blue
pour down your hand like your arm is the arm of a galaxy
. you are the galaxy
, the mother
of all, and planets play games on your toes while the stars
burn out their short lives in bursts of intensity and beauty. you watch someone pour water down another girl's hair
and gasp to see the points of light rain down her braided curls. in wonder you dive
and watch your hands part the seas, every stroke a wave
peace descends. you settle onto your back and look up at the stars twinkling through clouds. meteor
s pass by in flaming streaks. you're a person again, but the stars are down around you and you're swimming in them.
you leave the waters as the boat prepares to go. but the creatures of the bay are in your clothes
, and every time you snap the fabric until it dries, for hours you glow
. there's a bit of the galaxy left in you. you are luminous
and you remark to yourself later
, months later, writing about your experience, that you'd never been so alive
. never. never as you were there, swimming through life