Today I went for a swim from Had Tien to Had Yuan. The beaches are about twenty minutes apart, when you’re swimming at a good pace. Even today, with choppy waves, we made it in just about that. I was swimming with my friend Sam, because I’m afraid of open water. As long as there’s someone swimming with me, though, I love the challenge and the exercise.
We swam straight out, leaving Had Tien behind us, and kept our eyes on the big rock that stood between the outcropping of jungle and open sea. As long as we swam straight past it, we could miss the choppy waters that roll and collide in the channel between the rock and the island. We kicked our feet and swam. My Chacos worked well as little flippers that propelled me through the sea.
Once out past the big rock, I turned north, and began kicking in time with the waves. Wave, roll, kick! Wave, roll, kick! Then I saw a bit of white that caught my eye. I got closer, kicking with my feet and pulling with my arms, and saw that it was a shoe. It was a white flip flop, and it must have been out there for quite some time, because it had barnacles growing on the sides. One more kick got me close enough to really see it, bobbing on the choppy waves. There was a crab on top! He was floating along, happy as can be, opening and closing his pinchers every now and then. He looked very chill, like he had been there for a long time, and was maybe sun tanning. I pointed him out to Sam, and we had a good laugh.
I continued kicking. The waves were splashing a bit, and I kept spitting out little mouthfuls of water, but really, it was a lovely swim. I was concentrating on pulling with my arms as each wave rolled up and lifted me, and I was making pretty good time. Then I looked up at the jungle, and gasped a little bit in awe. There, in the middle of rolling acres of unbroken jungle, was one beautiful, light green tree. It reminded me of something you would see in the African savannah, or in the Bible, or in heaven. It stood out against all of those acres of palm trees and shiny dark leaves because it was light green, ethereal, almost transparent. It leaned forward into the sun, a blessed thing, receiving all the light and love it needed. It was round and full, a beautiful sibling of all of that jungle- different, but utterly stunning. I wondered who planted it there, or what bird carried its seed. As far as I could tell, no one ever walked through that part of jungle. There was no sign of human life, and the only trail that I knew of was far to the west. That just made the tree all the more special.
Kick, pull, spit, kick, pull, spit. After another ten minutes, I hit solid ground. My feet touched the sand, and I stood up and raised my hands over my head. I smiled up at the jungle, and looked back at Sam. He pulled in about a minute after I got there. I swirled my hands over the surface of the water, and decided to go in. “I’ll see you tomorrow?” I asked him, planning on another swim. “Sure thing,” he said, smiling. “I think I’ll just paddle around here a bit before I go.” I gave him a wink and a wave, and turned to go. Once he caught his breath, he was swimming back to the other side.