Exhausted from my wedding festivities the previous day, I sat in my airplane seat staring blankly out of the window at the thick cloud cover below. The pilot announced that we'd be landing in St. Lucia in approximately 15 minutes. I leaned forward to gaze down hoping to see some land through the clouds, but I could see nothing. I became nervous for a moment, my mind filling with thoughts such as, "How are we going to land if the pilot can't see the runway?" Then, as we descended, I saw the most beautiful sight I had ever seen through the breaking clouds. Nothing but miles of thick, mountainous, lush rainforest surrounded by the bluest, sparkling water. I caught a glimpse of the island's twin volcanic peaks as our plane circled the island. I was struck with awe. My fears dissipated and I was filled with a renewed energy. A native woman seated behind me flashed a knowing smile as I commented on the beautiful sight below.
As our plane landed, I could see a platform where a group of native children were waving to us. This was like no other airport I had seen. It consisted of a landing strip and a small building surrounded by fields where goats and cattle roamed freely. We boarded a small open-air bus that would take us to our resort. I was so in awe of the beauty that I don't think I said a word for the entire hour-long drive that took us up and down winding, mountainous, dirt and gravel roads. When we arrived at our destination, we learned that in order to preserve the island's beauty, no building was allowed to surpass the treetops.
We were shown to our villa and greeted by a curious-looking lizard on our doorstep. The main living area was open with tropical birds flying in and out. On the roof was a sundeck where I spent many hours gazing into the pristine bay, watching the hummingbirds buzz about, and becoming absorbed in the spectacular sunsets. We dined on the island's bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Over the course of our brief stay, we visited a banana plantation and the island's twin volcanic peaks, hiked the lush rainforest, and snorkeled in the incredible Caribbean. This was my first snorkeling adventure. I was again awed by the crystal clear water, the beautiful coral, and the colorful tropical fish.
I was sad on our last day on the island because I so much wanted to stay and explore, but happy at the same time because I was given the opportunity to visit this place. I closed my eyes and walked in the soft sand and allowed my heightened senses to become immersed in the beauty of this utopia one last time.
I do plan on returning one day with my children. But until then, I'll continue to go back there in my mind whenever I need a reminder that utopia exists.
e x t e s s a y -
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