Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Belize and the Bus

In 2011, I traveled to Belize for a one week teacher exchange.  I was 5 months pregnant with mini #1.  Ironically, I ran into the woman who organizes the yearly trip at the NSTA conference in Boston yesterday, which jogged my memory.  Then this post was born.

The most intensely pure and peaceful place I have ever been is the Cockscomb Wildlife Sanctuary and Jaguar Preserve in Belize.  The lodging part of the preserve was a series of bunks along the edge of a rainforest and a short walk led you to a hut with a kitchen (and electricity!)  Otherwise, our bunks did not have much in the way of light.  The preserve lacked ever present glow of dense civilization.  Naturally, my flashlight stopped working at that moment I began walking back to my bunk from a communal dinner. I was struck by how absolutely dark it was.  Honestly, I was scared.

I stopped where I was and looked up at the night sky.  It was littered with stars. I felt so insignificant compared to this massive display of beauty.  It was joyfully overwhelming, so much so, that I began to cry.  It was the darkest place I have ever been, yet the glow from the stars was comforting.  I thanked God for slowing me down to see this.  I closed my eyes.  I told myself to never forget this moment.  I realized that it would be the one of the purest moments of my life.  

To this day, I have never again witnessed that level of peace within my natural environment.  Nothing rivals that starry night walk in Belize where tears gathered in my eyes because I simply knew this. was. it.  However, all joking aside- a close runner up has to be the bus I am on to Boston.

(This is a big deal because I am Boston-phobic.  The city makes no sense to me and it triggers me to have panic attacks.  So I felt pretty badass when I got on the bus two days in a row and attended a science teacher conference in Boston.) This bus company does not allow people to talk on their cell phones or use anything with a volume.

It has been blissful.  Besides the hum of the bus, or a rogue sneeze, there is nothing to clutter the audible environment.  I was thinking yesterday, this is just about the quietest place I have been since my kids were born. The incessant chatter, the pings, dings and tweets pull our attention and focus away from prayer, meditation and reflection.  It's exhausting!

So, today, I embrace the silence of the bus with a big goofy grin on my face.  Now if only the bus took me from Boston to the Belize.......


  1. A beautiful post, Meredith. Thanks for writing this. So glad you had some well-deserved quiet on a bus...who would have guessed that a commercial bus company would ban cellphone use. We need to have more of these quiet spaces in our lives, don't we?

  2. I had a night like that up in the Sierras. Campfires were not allowed. It was chilly. We were set up along a river, at about 11,000 feet. I walked for about a mile across a meadow by myself, laid down, turned off my light, and enjoyed the sound of the wind for about 30 minutes. The sky is so clear at that elevation that you can see stars that you can't see elsewhere. Stars, quiet, and thunder are the things that I miss the most from home.