Sunday, March 27, 2011

The light at dusk is spare and gentle. This is a new landscape, an old landscape. Crossing a hill obscured by tall, dry grasses, crossed with beaten paths, birds calling in the low, leafless trees, I find myself on a gray sand beach. There's a heavy swell from the north. Next to the sign that said Columbus landed here the usual trash is scattered, unnatural jetsam. A plastic water jug, discarded clothes, a deflated green inner tube, paper bags from the drive-through. A couple of teenagers sit on the hood of a car, listening to a melodic Caribbean rhythm with just enough of a beat to make it cool. The Arawak village is long gone. Columbus didn't stay—the Arawak had arrows tipped with manchineel. Will this place welcome us?
    Adam was joking yesterday that we should write a cookbook called Cooking without a Choice. I had just steamed bok choy in the oven and it turned out great. Really not bad. We only have one pot at the moment and he was using that to cook a chicken with za'atar, which is a mix of toasted thyme, sumac, and sesame seed that currently intrigues the palate of every member of the crew.
    I don't mind things the way I used to. There's something about constant change, about living with the elements, that has made me stop fetishizing the familiar. But we've been thinking maybe this is the place to stop awhile. Make some real money. We've weighed the options and aimed our collective will at this island, eighty square miles of ancient lava. We're pressing on the rock for the secret door that will yield. But I don't hold onto things so hard anymore. If it's not here, it must be somewhere else.

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