Maravilla is the name of my boat, my book, and an emotion. Maravilla is Spanish for wonder; a strange and lovely combination of joy, curiosity, and awe; a sense of the miraculous. To see infinity in the splash of the sea and the set of a sail is maravilla. Maravilla is a tonic, antidote to the mundane and moronic – the beginning of wisdom.
On the eve of my 60th birthday, in need of recharge, I wandered the mystical desert – a vast and overwhelming place, not unlike the ocean; wild, insensate and brutal – beautiful beyond reason. I camped alone, far out among the juniper, yucca, cholla, and cats claw. Blasted by incandescent white light during the day, I floated in the Milky Way at night.
Blue gold dawn chased away the night – like a visor lifted. Described scientifically, the electromagnetic light waves induced electric dipole moments in atmospheric molecules. Blue light scattered more than red or green, and my human eyes – more sensitive to the scattered blue – perceived a blue sky.
Put another, more poetic way – sunlight glowed the spinning atmosphere and bathed the earth in a radiance imagined blue. Without my mind’s perception, the sky was not blue. I blue’d the sky. The stars still existed above me – Orion spun slowly through 12 o’clock this day. Terrestrial blue masked space black. I thought of the moon with its perpetual black sky, contrasted to the earth, glowing blue, alive. If we were not sensitive to blue light – instead say, greenish yellow light – the earth would be mustard colored rather than blue. Blue sky requires sunlight, atmosphere and an eye attuned to blue. It is miraculous and elicits wonder – maravilla.
The rocks above me reflect the sunlight back to its source. This outcrop is a sun-worshipping tribe, reflecting sun today as they did eons ago, as they will eons hence, dancing their slow rock dance. A jackrabbit scampers from under a tenacious juniper, a gecko skips under a creosote bush, a burrowing owl – burrowing! – hoots to the rising sun.
Then silence, stillness; the air, rocks and I warmed by dazzling light.
The wild desert, oceans, and mountains are without intelligence, remorseless, implacable. But is that true? I listened to the great tone of the silent desert. A glow – euphoria not too strong a word – came over me. As my eyes brought blue to the sky, so my mind brought awareness to the desert. Given form, function, and definition, the desert gave me light, air and life. I cannot exist without it; it has no consciousness without me. I use my awareness to reflect upon the desert – but we are not separate, we are two poles of the same thing – I am the desert reflecting on itself.
The same is true when tumbling upon the ocean or shooshing high on frozen snowfields. Time spent in the wild is time spent with the source. We are not different or separate from wild – we are wild and the only sensible response is wonder – Maravilla.