We lay together in the inky, cobalt darkness beneath the freckled twilight sky. Our backs pressed to the plush sandy blanket beneath the golden mountains of San Clemente, Ecuador. As close as we could possibly be, cheek to cheek against our tangled mess of sea- breeze teased hair. My little ones and me. Only two and four, and silenced by the beauty of this place, just like me.

We watched the silhouette of their father, as his weaved in and out and all around the dancing feathers of our first seaside bonfire.  He tip toed into the darkness across the noiseless expanse of sand, peeking over our shoulders in hopes of finding two tiny pairs of closed eyelids. But, their lashes faltered in his presence and any slumber that was lurking, quickly darted to the other side of the world. The amber glow of the flickering flames highlighted the soft round edges of their angelic faces, and they burst into giggles at the sight of their favorite person in this whole universe.

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He knelt to the ground, sliding his hand into mine, and effortlessly fell into his place among our heap on the sand. All was right with the world, all our little noggins and fingers and toes, perfectly intertwined to capture this moment in our minds forever. Our eyes turned to the skies, the tips of our fingers floating above; hopelessly aiming to target every last star. We whispered about the patterns in the heavens, of the dot to dot game that makes up the artistry of the delicately orchestrated constellations.

Soon our voices fell silent again as we succumbed to the predictable rhythm of the surf lapping against the sand. I watched, as a flirty, white foam collected at the water’s edge; glowing in the late evening air. It mimicked the patterns of a pearly lace hem, lifting in the wind; at the edges of a navy satin dress. And then, my eyes returned to our children, as I noticed the soothing rise and fall of their tiny chests. Their only betrayal, that sleep had welcomed them.

The silence of civilization collided with the thunder of nature, as my husband and I lay together, welcoming in the arrival of secluded night time. The crickets and geckos sang their songs, like the cello and the violin, singing into the sparkling blackness. A little yellow crab darted past my chin, all along the sand between our bodies, over my knee, and then back into oblivion. The stars jogged on their axis, as the sky tilted away from them, sliding them further into the abyss. We watched a tiny orange spot that was Venus on the horizon, as it slid from view beneath the impossible seam of sea and sky.

We lay there for what seemed like hours, no words between us, just the pulsing blood between our palms.  We were tucked against the most perfect cradle, in the comfort of the sand that held the sun in its memory. In those moments we were granted an escape, a removal from civilization, freedom from socialization. We found ourselves blanketed in every perfect ounce of solace that nature brings to the spirit.

We have realized a gift for our children, for our selves, and for our family as a whole. We will be accepting it, allowing macrocosm to infiltrate our lives. There will be much, much more of this: salty kisses and starlight wishes…