This year in springtime, I enjoyed a two-week writer’s sojourn in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, a quaint, seaside village located on Florida’s southeast coast. The sea shored up her bounty of gifts for me. In turn, I gift you my stories. Visit the story map to navigate this travel memoir.
Saturday, April 23, 2016
Journey First, Journal Later
After a good night’s rest, my beau and I headed to our next stop: High Noon Beach Resort just up the street on Romance Row. At this point, after experiencing six properties with three more to go, I wasn’t sure if it was even humanly possible to write about them with any measure of detachment and objectivity. I’m glad I waited two weeks to start penning this memoir. Sometimes, you need to step away from being in the moment to describe that moment.
And what moments they were. I never imagined that getting away from it all would bring so much back to me, so many flashes of insight just by taking precious time to just listen to the song of the sea.
High Noon Beach Resort is a family owned and operated property consisting of four small buildings that face the ocean on El Mar Drive. I stayed at the High Noon’s main building, which features a lush tropical courtyard surrounded by palm trees and tiki huts. The centerpiece is a heated freshwater pool. My room, which the owner explained was renovated just last month, was stunning and decorated in my favorite hues of sunny yellow and indigo blue. My window faced the courtyard with the ocean in plain sight.
As soon as we dropped off our luggage, we gazed into each other’s eyes eager to satiate an intense desire for closeness, but my tummy made funny noises. Hunger won out instead. Love would have to wait. We laughed and walked over to Aruba Beach Cafe for brunch.
Aruba Beach Café
Aruba Beach Cafe is a Caribbean-themed restaurant, bar and music venue located next to Anglin’s Pier and the village’s gathering place, Pelican Square. Late that Saturday morning, Aruba was packed with families but the atmosphere was relaxed and casual.
Floor-to-ceiling windows line the entire restaurant, so just about every seat affords a panoramic view of the beach.
Aruba Beach Cafe doubles as the closest thing to a nightclub in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea. I stayed in every night during my sojourn, but I did stroll by one evening and found adults enjoying cocktails, live music and a twirl on the dance floor. No lines, bouncers or pretension here. Leave all that behind when you cross the bridge into city limits.
Sacred Spaces by the Sea
Later that day, the beau returned to Miami for a spell, so I had the whole afternoon to myself. A couple of hours before sunset, I set out to the beach, which was only 50 feet from my room at High Noon. I longed to sit on the sand and just listen to the soothing sound of the waves cresting and crashing on the shore.
Beaches are sacred spaces where mother ocean performs her song of the sea. Mother ocean is everyone’s mother. We spend the first nine months of our lives suspended in liquid inside our mother’s body, listening to her heartbeat, floating inside the womb, our first cradle. Birth is a rude awakening from that watery realm of comfort.
Within a short while, I heard a distinct sound coming from the distance that wasn’t the song of the sea. I walked toward that sound and soon enough recognized something familiar to my ears.
I had discovered a drum circle on Romance Row!
Drum circles are also sacred spaces. Drummers conjure up spiraling energy around a circular space where dancers move in tandem with the earthly vibration of the drums. Drum circles on a beach connect with the rhythm of the waves.
I knew from my experience as a drum circle drummer and dancer that you don’t just walk into that sacred space. I closed my eyes, expressed gratitude and asked silently for the honor to enter that space.
I had arrived at the end of the afternoon event, which the folks there, basking in the gleam of their own smiles, seemed to have enjoyed. The children continued to play with glee and I missed my African djembe drum terribly. But instead of focusing on what I was missing, I became deeply aware of what I was witnessing: a sense of connectedness and joy in a community that respects the beach.
The drum circle tells a story of a community in tune with source; it manifests a moment in time in which a group of individuals agree to create music spontaneously as a collective whole. Drum circles enact this contract. Dancers enter the sacred space of the circle and translate the vibrant energy of sound into form. There is no right or wrong. Frenzied or slow, everyone is in it together. The result is nothing short of exhilarating.
Drum circles are about connection, not separation. That is why you ask for permission to enter: the ego stays outside. Within the circle, you forget yourself by being yourself so intensely that you surrender to oneness. Drum circles nurture love and respect, summoning even strangers to its center with the intense gravitational pull of unconditional love.
Baptism Under the Stars
|Photo Credit: High Noon Resort|
Later that night, I took a dip in High Noon’s freshwater pool. Immersing my body in the warm, salty water gave me immense pleasure, and is it any wonder? I had spent the day listening to mother ocean sing her song, which reminded me of the first few months of my life in the womb. And then I entered another sacred space, the drum circle, where I celebrated life in the form of rhythm, my own heart beat soothed by a sense of connectedness to others. It was perfect.
I dunked my head in the warm, silky water once more knowing my beau would arrive soon. I floated gently, looking up at the stars. “This is more of a high midnight than a high noon,” I thought. “This water is bringing me back to life.”
I was awash with bliss. My heart beat softly. I vowed silently to take that feeling home with me as a souvenir from Lauderdale-by-the-Sea. I promised myself to always honor the sacred space of my heart.
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Disclosure: this travel experience was supported by The Lodging Association of Lauderdale-by-the-Sea. All opinions my own.