If You Stand too Close to Fire, You Will Get Burned
If You Stand too Close to Fire, You Will Get Burned

All the divers in Akumal love a nighttime bonfire on the beach. It is part and parcel of living in a coastal town. It is not just for the tourists either although they often come. Locals love gathering on the sand and warming themselves near the flames although the evenings are less than frigid. It feels good in any case. We drink beer, chat, share stories, and relax; but don’t get too close or you will get burned. By now we know this cardinal rule. We have seen many guys parading around town with no eyebrows or eyelashes. We know what happened. I read on http://www.eyelashestodiefor.com that eyelashes do grow back after getting burnt but it takes quite a long time and we don’t exactly monitor the fire’s victims.

Divers are not big on roasting marshmallows and there usually aren’t many kids around. The bonfire is a symbol of our craft and a salute to the paradise that is our town. You might think about it as a tribute, but it is also a great excuse to gather, acknowledge one another, and let the god of fire guide us another day. So, a bonfire is a glorious sight but it is also a harbinger of danger. Thus, as divers, we ponder the need for personal vigilance and care. We look out for one another on land and in the sea. A big bonfire lasts almost all night and it is a chance for us to relax and luxuriate in the comfort and softness of the pristine white sand. What a contrast to diving by the reef or exploring every inch of the bay. We live in a world of contrast, opposites, and dualities. It makes for an energizing and exciting life.

It isn’t easy to build a bonfire and it takes many men to carry the wood and other combustibles to the designated sight. The group effort is not unlike our diving time. We swim side by side and watch each other’s backs. Someone is always there for assistance. It is the same with the bonfire. If people stand too close, we take it upon ourselves as fire builders, to advise them to move back. While it is a powerful sight, as fire this size often is, it is also a warning to respect all the elements of nature: earth, fire, air, and water. Standing in awe of the enormous bonfire, you can certainly wax poetical.

Hours into the night, the bonfire still ablaze, we contemplate our good fortune and we thank the god of the sea. We ask for protection but also insight. We never take our diving for granted. It is a sport, a hobby, a source of income, and an obsession. Let the bonfire light our way into the future so we may enjoy many more days of exploration and adventure. You never tire of the practice and you are reticent to leave the water, even for a break. You belong in the sea by nature.