Yin and Yang: Or If You See a Rainbow, It Means There Was a Storm

I’m generally walking on the beach walking by 7:00 a.m. Not too many people are out. The windsurfers are still sleeping off their boozy vacation night and the tide is washing up on the shore.  There is always a rainbow, sometimes twin rainbows because there is always a pre-dawn rain shower in Puerto Rico.

I’m here visiting my sister and brother-in-law—Sunnie and George.

Eighteen months ago, Sunnie fell down a wooded hill on North Haven, an island off the coast of Maine, carrying a 50 lb. sack of cat litter and drove a pine branch through her frontal lobe. George is in his 12th year of Parkinson’s. Some days are tough for one or both of them.

I’m not a beach bunny, in fact I hate the beach, the sand and the ocean. But, here I am. The weather is a perfect temperature, the sun’s warmth tempered by constant breezes. The storms that produce the rainbows don’t interfere with the day’s activities.  Most days my sister sits at her dining room table working on a jigsaw puzzle, sometimes in the middle of the night too when she can’t sleep. I sit across from her decorating hand-made greeting cards—my fingers sticky with glue and cramped from cutting material. We chat, gossip about relatives and occasion grab our walking sticks and go out for café y leche and flan. George is either on the beach holding court with the other denizens of the sand and surf, or boxing, an exercise we both enjoy and is beneficial to mind body coordination, not to mention a great way to get rid of stress and even generalized rage at the destruction of the planet.

Paradise has a yin and yang as well. Corruption has slowed the pace of recovery from devastating hurricanes to nil, allowing the wealthy to buy up land and develop expensive condominiums and casinos, eliminating affordable housing for local people. There is a tension growing, and an anger just below the colorful, fragrant and cheerful surface of Puerto Rico life.

This blog doesn’t have a pithy ending retort. I’m glad to be with my sister, to see her benefit from the climate and the culture here. I can’t stay much longer, but long enough to assure she knows I love her. Leaving will be ying and yang too…happy to have come, ready to go home.

Published by Carole J. Garrison

I’m a conversationalist, an observer, a passionate participant in life. And now, in my later years, I’m a recorder of the lessons of my life through essays, stories, and novels. I live in the fourth moment of life, just outside the normal distribution of most people and it is from this place that I write.

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