Dear Terence,

I’ve recently returned from my annual trip to Mexico, and rather than send photos this year, I thought it more fitting to send a letter.

An odd assortment of emotions greeted me in the foyer, so I stood there contemplating the way they lay wrapped in the decorative bowl beneath the lamp before bringing my luggage inside. Curious, I unwrapped the one shaped like a ribbon, it was green, red and white, like those that Grandma gave us in our surprise socks each Christmas. But this one wasn’t sweet, it was bitter, so I spat it out and decided my contemplation was complete.

My favorite room in the house is the bedroom on the basement floor because its walls and ceiling are made of glass. Though I’d always wanted to camp directly on the sand, it was as close to ocean-side camping that I would ever get. Even though glass separated me from the sky, the sand and the waves, I needed only to open the windows to be at one with liberty and feel a sense of the freedom I’d traveled to remember.

The furnishings were unchanged. Still, there is only a king-size bed and two small nightstands, each with one large candle atop. There is little room to walk, and I suspect the intention of that space will always lend itself to lovemaking or meditation. In ten years of visiting the home, this was the only trip I was able to use that space at all.

I spent a lot of time sitting cross-legged in the middle of the bed and breathing. I spent every night laying on my back, staring at the stars and breathing. Every moment my feet were not in the sand, they were in that room, and every moment I was making love to myself.

So the lack of photos this year isn’t to suggest a lack of enjoyment. It’s to express that for the first time in my life, my joy and peace are no longer shackled to the anxiety of external proof, nor do I feel a need to chain my turmoil to silence.

When it was time to leave, I stopped at the foyer to ponder the bowl of emotions once more. At the time, my pockets were filled with rocks I’d picked up along the ocean during my morning walk. I pulled out one black stone and one white one. They were laconic acquisitions that personified the natural beauty of everything that in the past, I would have used a camera to memorialize.

Although the bowl was filled with antique candies in shiny wrappers, I knew those rocks would be the only sweet thing I’d ever taste with my heart, so I left them there before returning home.

I’ve figured out how to share the love of those rocks with the world, so the smaller envelope included with my letter holds a bookmark decorated with a raised teardrop encasing one ounce of sand.

“I’ll pour my life into your hands like oceans upon your sands if you can always stand to take a little more of me.” 
― Curtis Tyrone Jones

Some would consider it a keepsake, but it’s more than that. I want to remind people that they carry within them a story that heals with salt water, and that it can be the comfort beneath their steps and the foundations of their rest.

All of my windows are open, and finally, the call of my love can be heard traveling over the ocean. I listen to it every day in the wind that blows through the branches of my trees. I refuse to settle for anything in this world, except into the arms of this gift.

Thank you for all your assistance in publishing this trip over the last decade. Your work has inspired me to seek and capture something more than the moments.

May the sand and salt always keep your heart in place with time and be a reminder that they are never truly separate.