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  • My horoscope tells me to beware of instant karma. It's an easy thing to forget when we get separated and lost while stopping for coffee, then stuck in rush-hour traffic, and I do.

    The drive to El Yunque takes nearly twice as long as we expect, and by the time we get there karma is the last thing on my mind. I am tired, I am anxious, I am caffeinated. It's the last day of my vacation and I just want to go.

    The trail is paved and full of tourists. They move slowly, blocking the trail every few feet to pull out a water bottle or stand and rest. They move as though they have all day to get nowhere, as though they have no idea where they're going. My nerves fray a tiny bit more with each group that does not yield, that does not notice anything outside themselves.

    I do not notice that I'm stuck inside myself.

    At the end of the trail there is a waterfall. People are swimming in the pool below it, which adds to my frustration; I love to swim, want to swim, but I did not know I could and so I am not dressed for it. There is an empty boulder at the mouth of the pool where I can sit and put my feet in the water, but I have to fight through the crowd to get there. People have spread out across every available surface. No one thought to leave a clear path. I see no room for common courtesy and I think terrible, ugly thoughts about each and every person as I pass them by. I get to my rock and balance on one foot as I pull off my other shoe.

    I remember my horoscope as I lose my balance and fall off the rock, scraping my ankle on the way down. I am lucky to land on a rock that is only a handful of inches below the surface, not in the deep crevice a little further left, and even more fortunate that my shoe is safe and dry on the boulder above me. All those ugly, angry thoughts; an angry, ugly gash. Instant karma.

    I am far more patient on my way back up.
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