Saturday was looking like the apocalypse.
Normally, I can see the beach and mountains from my windows. But when the calima hits, I can barely see anything.
I walked outside to see if the view would get better. When I walked to the beach, the view from my apartment looked like the Four Seasons compared to the beach. A brown-gray haze covered the city, making it impossible to see clearly beyond a few hundred feet.
And the sun! Look at how weird the sun looked.
The sun looks like my ceiling lights. Just a disk floating in the sky. Oddly, it looked even brighter than normal.
So what is calima?
Calima is the sand and dust that is blown over from the Sahara, onto the islands. For days, we’ll have hazy skies that make it almost impossible to see anything. Sometimes, it just looks like a fog. Lately, it’s looked like the end of the world. My friend jokingly greeted his friend visiting for the weekend by saying: “Welcome to Mordor.”
My colleagues have told me they prefer to stay inside with a blanket and relax all day. Kind of like the cold winter days in Michigan. I didn’t come all that way for this. I came all this way for the beach and sunshine and fun.
Now, as you would assume, it’s probably not a good idea to be walking around outside when the weather is like this. So twice this month my weekend plans have been cancelled by the calima. And just when I’m starting to meet more people as well.
It’s frustrating, because for the past two years, every time I try to increase my social life, something happens. In Madrid: You want to go out? NOPE, because they city is on lockdown, and then the neighborhood is on lockdown, and now your roommates are sick and you’re on lockdown. In Gran Canaria: You want to go to the beach? Make new friends? NOPE, it’s calima time.
At least I’m an introvert and having to reschedule social plans feels like a soft relief in the midst of frustration.
So, for all the people who tell me I live in paradise, just know that sometimes paradise can look like this.
I’ll leave you with this, though:
On the Friday night before the calima a few weekends ago, I was going for a walk. Calima was in the air, but I had no idea how bad it was going to be.
That day, however, it had been very windy. Kids’ papers and crafts flew all around the room. And the wind hit so hard that it felt angry, like it was going to rip my jacket off of me if I didn’t hold on tight enough.
At one point during my evening walk, I sat on a bench to watch the waves. I’d noticed that they were growing in size and fury. The falling waves sounded like thunderclaps. Each one grew in size and sound.
I reflected on how life is like the waves of the ocean. We have moments of peace, of stillness, of feeling like the world has stopped moving. And then, we have moments of water ripping through the sea, shaking anything in its way. We’re in a constant state of motion.
And I thought about how the waves that caught my attention the most were the ones that sounded the scariest, the ones that made the most noise. They were the reason why I sat at that bench for 20 minutes to watch and listen to the waves in the dark.
On a normal night, the line where the water meets the sky was almost invisible, just looking like an immense sea of black. But tonight, it was very obvious where the water was. The biggest waves created a line of white in the water that moved to the left and right, as if it were falling dominoes, until its final CRASH.
Isn’t it funny, I thought, how our breakdowns, our fallouts, our hardest moments, are the ones that grab our attention? That make us stop for 20 minutes in the growing calima to watch them fall, and to admire their power? Is life like this? Are our hardest moments where we feel like everything’s falling out of our hands, the moments that will be the most beautiful ones? The ones that we need for a beautiful and meaningful life of happiness, love, and excitement?
The roar of the falling waves gave me all the answers.