A home in the coral of Guam

Guam is a flutter of movement at my fingertips and footsteps.
Swiftly tip-toeing though foot-paths of broken coral and shell, geckos flee from my steps like a softly purring drum cadence.

“They’re everywhere!” I think, watching their brown little tails disappear into an underbrush of tropical plants.  The trail winds through palms.  Someone has been here.  Not only that, but someone has stacked the sharp, pocketed igneous rocks into towers, as though to suggest an imaginary wall.  The towers spring from short walls that have been neatly built from the porous rocks in odd, swiveling lines.  Someone has covered the rocky ground with fine white sand.

“Does someone live here?”

An enormous cross, painted white has been propped against a tree at what I imagine is the entrance of this roofless house of pillars and the imaginary walls between.

“Does someone worship here?”

The structure is tucked into the edge of a tropical forest with the water’s edge just over the next ledge.  It is both mysterious and beautiful and it reminds me just a bit of a house of boxes my dad built for my sisters and I when we were young.  It reminds me of the fort my mother let me build in our living room out of chairs and blankets.  It reminds me of the felled tree my sisters and I found, and pretended was our mansion.

Someone is pretending.

There is a small patch of plants, encircled with beach stones. A garden?  There is a raised portion where the sand and rock has been piled into a bench at the edge of the wall.  A bay window?   By a big tree, propped against the wall is a can of Raid and a few bottles of white vinegar.  The pantry?  The Cellar?  The garage?

The water is calm and clear outside of this imaginary house, hardly making a sound as it laps the base of a huge, island like rock just off-shore.  The surface is quiet but I know that a flickering movement of tropical fish is moving below.  They shimmer at the poke of my hand when I snorkel, darting away with a fluttering movement like a butterfly.  Some of them stare, a few feet below me in the cool, warm waters.  They stare just a moment then dart back into the coral to hide.

This coral is their home.  And somehow, someone has adopted this home of coral as their own, building an ocean-like home of their own just a short distance away.



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