I had resolved to be spare, to be modest in my wants, to be basic in a place of indulgence. But one thing I wanted with all my heart on this odd cruise to Cozumel with an old friend was to swim in the Gulf of Mexico.

I wanted to swim a long breaststroke along the shore and watch people walking on the beach, stooping now and then to pick up a shell or a horseshoe crab.  In my mind’s eye, I saw myself swimming far, further than the beachcombers walked. I dreamt about being in the blue, a long wide ribbon of blue where only my strokes would break the stillness of the water’s seamlessness.

But when our tour bus rolled up to the beach in Cozumel, the surf was wild with big waves crashing on rocks. Oh, there were people on the beach but they weren’t swimming, they were sunning. It was dangerous swimming, I could see that. A surfer could maybe maneuver but not a swimmer so I went back to being modest in my wants until I saw the cove.

The cove caught the tail end of waves that crashed over a string of large rocks.  There would be no swimming but there could be riding the mellowed out waves, jumping over the waves too high, floating in the time in between, being pushed from side to side, falling into the surprised couple standing behind me, and raising my arms in pure delight to be in this place on this day.

It wasn’t what I wanted but it was what I had and it was beautiful.