A Casual Surrender

by Christopher Lovejoy on October 30, 2011

When I saw the copter flying towards me, I swam as fast as I could. As I approached the shore, I stumbled to stand up, ran to the shoreline, and faced the copter as naked as I was born.

Like a bird coasting and course-correcting on a wind in flight, I broadcast an officially sanctioned distress signal: raising and lowering, slowly and repeatedly, both of my arms outstretched to my sides.

As the copter hovered above me, someone lowered a hoist.

Trembling with excitement, I reached for the harness and slid into it, raising my right hand to give the signal that I was good to go. The pilot hesitated, and then went higher, moving out over the sea.

Some minutes later, in a moment of dread, I realized that I had neglected to secure myself inside the harness. By this time, I was already high above the water, moving further out to sea. Before I could secure the strap around my waist, a gust of wind threw me forward, out of the harness. I fell through the air, feeling too stunned to utter a sound as the surface of the sea raced towards me.

I hit the water hard.

I gasped for breath and sat up quickly, full of fright. I sighed abruptly with relief, bringing a witness perspective to my labored breathing with the intention of willing my body into a relaxed state.

Sitting and trembling on my bed of leaves in my base camp, soaked in sweat, I reflected on what had just transpired. In real life, I would never have given the okay without buckling up.

And then I wondered: was this merely a dream or was it a premonition of things to come?

I went supine and closed my eyes, mindfully coaxing my body into a deeper state of relaxation.

For my own peace of mind, I reminded myself that I could give up the search for a rescue. When I thought about it, I could bury everything I owned and still live reasonably well on this island.

Up to this point, the environment had been relatively stable. The weather had been fine, for the most part, and I had plenty of food and water. I had a shelter and I could make a fire.

I had all the survival basics covered with uncommon ease. Life in paradise had been good to me, but I had no one to keep me company. What if I did return to civilization? What would I find?

Would anyone close to me still care about living my dream in a paradise of peace and prosperity while much of the world, oblivious to its plight, allowed itself to be consumed inside the fires of hell?

Perhaps I was better off staying where I was. Perhaps I could care less about my fate here.

I opened my eyes and observed the morning play of light and shadow. I was too late to catch the sunrise, but not too late to enjoy a dip in the sea, while the air was still refreshingly cool.

I laughed: perhaps the copter would suddenly appear after I hit the water running.

I sat up to clear my head, to get my bearings; I stood up and stretched, and moved at a leisurely pace towards the water, reminding myself that I really did have all the time in the world.

I walked slowly into the water up to my thighs and fell back into an incoming wave.

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