I remember going to an underground hip hop show in San Antonio some years ago. I stood mashed in a crowd of other sweaty, colored bodies, nodding my head as a young Latino MC ripped it onstage. And I remember standing mesmerized, as he repeated over and over again, "The world is a sad and beautiful place. The world is a sad and beautiful place..."
The truth of his words have stayed with me over the years as my travels have led me to different parts of the world. To a holiday house in Scotland and dancing traditional Irish dances with new friends to hauling a gringo pack under the burning heat of a Honduran sun to slipping 10 dollars to a homeless man in front of Vulcan Video in Austin. In Bluefields, Nicaragua I wonder what to think when I am walking back to my hotel room and see a Black man, half-kneeling on the ground, half-slumped against a building, passed out and oblivious to the world around. Leave some change under his hand, and slip into my hotel. I don't want to embarass him.
I've spent the last week here on the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua. It is the first time I have spent a substantial amount of time outside of Bluefields. I traveled to the Pearl Lagoon Basin, located north of Bluefields.
The beauty of this place is sometimes overwhelming. Like standing on a bar made of large boulders that separates the Bluefields Bay from the Caribbean Sea/Atlantic Ocean. You feel the smallness and the wonder of your own existence. I stood there, wrapped in a bright pink sarong, savoring the heat of the sun on my shoulders, wondering how many others had experienced this, felt this before me. What a miracle to live here and be this close to the water everyday. And then I thought of my own life, back home, how rarely I make it a point to get close to the water in Austin, how beautiful the state parks, rivers, lakes, and forests are. The privilege I rarely exercise, of being able to drive to these places whenever I wish.
It is a miracle to live in this place, but also a struggle. There are too few who are able to enjoy the beauty of the Caribbean Coast. Too many people struggling to survive, making money stretch, exchanging their dreams for rum and crack cocaine.
The world is a sad and beautiful place.
Random ruminations ya'll...trying to make sense of how life can simultaneously be horrible and beautiful.