Back on land, as of yesterday. The ground has finally ceased its swaying, which means the last vestige of the cruise has left us. We are reluctant to relinquish it as we are still enchanted--by the lava-coated, unforgiving landscape, the sheer richness, quantity, and even curiosity of the marine life, the strangeness of seeing white sand beaches rimmed by prickly pear cactus, the clumsy but endearing boobies.
I hate these moments. These moments of foreknowledge, the sureness that all the gladness and wonder will fade, that our magical 8 days will boil down into a single trite emotion, that my memory will erode so thoroughly that one day I'll question even that boiled down feeling, that all that I predict will happen rather quickly--in a few weeks perhaps--and that there's absolutely nothing in the world I can save from myself.
It was not just the fact of the Galapagos. It was also the peace of being on a sailboat, cutting through the sea, nothing to do for several hours a day besides lazily scanning the waters or dozing in the sun, salty hair whipped into a rough, haphazard nest. I no sooner brought out a book then it slipped from my fingers, replaced by a sweet, forgotten dream.
What's left? Life goes on, reluctantly. Today we walked all around Puerto Ayora, toasted by the equatorial sun. We didn't remember it being this brutal on the water. Nothing is the same--not the sun, not the tortoises and iguanas of the Charles Darwin Research Center, not the immobile land beneath our feet. We reminisce, but less frequently, our moods already turning elsewhere. The enchantment loosens.