Man Cave Spelunking


I broke my leg coming out of a cave, day before yesterday. I’m not in any real pain, but I’m aggravated. I’m supposed to be job-hunting. Instead, I’m sitting in a slightly moldy smelling chair on my balcony with my leg in a cast. I’ve propped it up on the rail and am listening to the squirrels in the trees.

Maria Nightingale has been in and out a few times. She says she’s going to find me a bird for company. I’m thinking, “How long does she think I’m going to sit around? Long enough to teach a parrot to talk?”

It must have been my peevish tone. She shrugged and left.  I can’t be sure, but I think Maria is wondering if I’m repeating a pattern: Fly into her life, hang out and do practically nothing for weeks, listen when she tells me I’ve got to find MY purpose (in other words, SHE can’t be my purpose) –– then, recognize she’s right –- and fly home to New York.

Sounds like I’m the parrot?  Anyway, I’m not going to give up that easily this time. Maria’s left me some books on Puerto Rico’s indigenous people, the Tainos. I think I can make good use of the next week, catching up on the reading she enjoys. She’s truly into her research, and I’ve hardly asked her about it. She has Tainos roots, she thinks. You can supposedly have a DNA test done, and she’s thinking about doing that.


She and I once visited another cave, in Loiza, where some very old Tainos artifacts were found. Caves here aren’t like the caves you have in the States. I don’t know the geology of the island, but the underground recesses I’ve seen so far aren’t worth roping off for. (Maybe that’s pride going before a fall?) Anyway, I feel less gravity here, like the island isn’t connected through crust and mantel to the earth’s core.

Maybe I’m still coming out of the Demerol fog I was in yesterday. Anyway, I have a lot to learn about the island’s geology, its flora and fauna, and how any of this — squirrels, yucca, and people —  survives the battering rain and wind.  Turns out, hurricane is a Tainos word.  Hammock is too. I’ll ask Maria for one of those! I may as well relax and enjoy my state of suspended animation.  Or is it only the calm before the storm?


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