The Perhentian islands off the northern half of the east coast of Malaysia are what Tolkien would have called Aman. The Blessed Realm. Pulau Perhentian Besar is the closest thing this side of Arda that I will find to Aman. Talcum-white sand shaded by quietly rustling palms in a cove where little tropical fish swim right up to the beach and swirl around your toes. I learned to dive there. At the Flora Bay Resort where we stayed. I learned how to slow my blood there. I learned how not to care about things like filling every moment with activity. I learned that the fine art of breathing deeply and really seeing things, I mean truly seeing them in a soul-deep sort of way, is a lost art but one that can be regained in the right place. In a place where time is not a factor. In a place where all you think about is exactly how the sand feels wriggling between your bare toes and who you should eat lunch with that day.
Copyright Corinne Simpson