The Girl in the Pontoon Boat
I took a short tour on a pontoon boat recently. I was visiting Bacalar, Mexico. Situated on the southeastern coast near Belize, it is also known as the Lagoon of Seven Colors for its stunning beauty.
It truly is a sight to behold. It is unreal - that color blue. It is something I haven't seen before - like it was put through an Instagram filter (sad reference but immediately understandable to most). I have seen gorgeous teal and azure tones while in Guatemala or even at waterfalls at Roberto Barrios outside of Palenque, Mexico but the particular shades of blue, ever changing as the solar hues change and bleed into each other like oils on an easel, were just different. Animated. Bright. Effervescent.
In addition to the guide and myself, was a young husband and wife and their tenacious two year old and another couple with their daughter, who was blind, and was seated next to me. She was 8 years old if I recall and very quiet. She was sweet, well behaved and like most kids (and all of us on the boat), enjoyed the calm, warm waters at the two or three stops we made to climb down the ladder into the water below.
As we sailed around the lagoon, the guide described it's history, it's relation to commerce, the unique geography of the landscape and it's climate and, of course, the magical hues that could not be averted, the primary reason anyone visits this fantastical area. And here I was sitting next to a young girl, with a soft calm indiscreet smile just sitting with her life vest on and cane in hand. What was she experiencing? What was she making of the "siete colores de la laguna" (seven colors of the lagoon)? Pondering that helped call my attention to the full experience - the soft roar of the engine and the sweeping breeze as we moved through the lagoon; the toasted heat from the sun from above; the chatter and laughter between guide and patrons.
Or maybe for some. Between the wind, the speed of discussion and general elementary nature of my Spanish, I was only catching key phrase and putting them together like clues in an episode of Law and order. The chatter and laugher was absorbed more for some than others.
In essence, I was having a different experience than the seven other participants.
In fact, weren't we all? Maybe you have heard (or experienced yourself) the idea of having grown up in the same household with the same parents but having registered it in a vastly different way than a sibling who grew up in the same home with the same family. We bring our full set of senses and our own translation to each experience to gain an individual interpretation. I was not having the same personal connection experience on the boat as the others. Perhaps the girl on the boat was having a much more sensory experience than any of us. The guide may be having a completely different adventure, being familiar with the lagoon in a way that no other rider in that boat was.
We may all be in the same proverbial boat, but what we need and what we take from the experience may be vastly different. Maybe that's not a bad thing to remember when we just assume that someone should "just get on board" (an apt idiom) when we are all in the same boat. Our experience may be vastly different.
Until next time,