Sunday, November 24, 2019

A Heartbeat

Hawaii is about 2,300 miles at a distance now but just a heartbeat away in our mind and heart. This is what experiences do when they enter our psyche. They abolish time and space and become immortal, i.e. they live forever in the vault of memory. Now I am very happy to have the last three weeks immortalized within. 

As Seals & Crofts sang in their song, “We may never pass this way again.”

My earthly existence has not been all roses. But I know that when I fully experience life unfiltered, even when it feels unbearable, it is better.
We are writing the book of our lives as we go along.

When we landed in Los Angeles friends took us in. We toured around together and visited the famous Laurel Canyon—of movie, artist and musician fame. Then lunch on Sunset Blvd, and an afternoon at the Getty Museum.

Now we are in Santa Barbara. My two brothers live here. The town has many memories for me. I lived here at one time, and my parents had a home in Santa Barbara for thirty years. My daughter spent some of the last months of her life here—with me beside her.

Today after a family breakfast we went lawn bowling, then I took Amy to see the home my parents lived in. It is close to the Old Mission, so we visited, then walked to the rose garden across the way. Remarkable that roses are blooming. The most fragrant we decided upon was called Peace. 

Meanwhile back in Santa Fe it is snowing. We will be there tomorrow. 

I have to learn to live with shoes on my feet again. 

Sunday, November 17, 2019

A Path of Flowers

I like having flowers strewn around. Here on the Big Island I notice that when I come out to my car it is bound to have a colorful  flower dropped on it. Walking on a path, flowers are on the ground. 

When we arrived at our bungalow on a little farm in Hawi on the north coast, we passed through a row of hibiscus trees. Each time we came or went, flowers were falling upon us or the ground. Like a wedding. 

And so too we have found people on the island who are gifts. Many strangers have been charitable and gracious with us. 
Also, Amy and I are both Baha’i and as it is a close-knit international community, Baha’i’s on the Big Island have been sure to see that we meet the right people wherever we go. This has been like the unexpected showering of flowers.

The angels get involved too! 

Driving between towns on the way to new accommodations, we stopped before noon to shop for necessities and have coffee. Earlier, we had been on a arduous hike down a mountainside to a secluded beach and then back up. In the parking lot at a drug store in Waimea, I changed shirts, taking off my expensive sunglasses and then forgetting I put them on top of the car. After the drug store we went to Starbucks for coffee and then to a Natural Grocer for supplies. 
About two miles out of town we had to stop. I looked for my sunglasses but they were not to be found. We pulled off the road and looked everywhere. I have lost these glasses before (that’s why I don’t buy expensive sunglasses. I end up losing them). We discussed just letting them go but Amy insisted we go back and retrace our steps. I was dismayed a bit at the hopelessness but went—with no luck. The last place was the drug store. Giving up, we drove out of the parking lot and headed out of town on the highway. After about a quarter mile Amy yells, “Stop here, that man just picked up your glasses and is getting back in his car!” I managed to pull part way off the road. “Did you just find sunglasses?” The old man in his crumpled, rusted car said, “Yes”, holding the glasses in his hand. “Those are my husband’s. We have been driving around looking for them!” “Well, here then” he said, “better pull off the road.” Traffic had stopped behind me so I pulled over and Amy retrieved the glasses, thanking the man profusely.
I had my glasses back, a bit scratched but we were both incredulous that I had them at all. We found them in an odd place on a busy highway in the hands of a stranger, just as he picked them up. The timing had to be absolutely perfect—down to the last second for this to have happened.

I pray often and commune with angels. And my wife has a knack for finding what is lost. She calls herself the “Finder of things.”

Another beautiful flower dropped at our feet.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Slipped Away

I knew that I would become very lazy in Hawaii. Sure enough, within a few days of balmy, hot air, salty humidity, crashing waves, immense ocean all around, chirping birds, insects, myriad flowers amidst lush vegetation—all my ambition to work sort of slipped away.

I have managed to make a couple paintings, write, and take plenty of photos.

It is very pleasurable to be with Amy as she experiences Hawaii for the first time. She appreciates the magnificent ocean from the shore, just getting her feet wet on the beaches and maybe splashing in the shallow waves. Amy almost drowned twice in her life and does not swim.

I swim, but the Big Island is mostly rocky coast. Nonetheless a few very good beaches are to be found and I have relished the water and surf. Both of us have had bloody gashes from slipping and cutting our hands on rocks. I was surprised at how quickly mine healed. I had thought I might need stitches. Salt water speeds healing of wounds.

We explored the Kona region for nine days. That is the middle of the western coast and relatively dry. The best beaches are on this side. Now we are at the far north of the island, staying in a cottage on a small farm by the town of Hawi. We will be here for five days and then follow the eastern coast south to Hilo—the rainiest city in all of America.

Amy is passionately involved in culture and all things native. We went to an international Hula competition at the Marriott Waikoloa Resort along the coast between Kona and Hawi. I was surprised how many Japanese were present. It seems hula dancing is very popular in Japan. About a third of the groups performing were from there.
 The ladies in the audience wore corsages of fresh exotic flowers pinned in their hair. A woman sat next to me and I was intoxicated with the scent of gardenia, plumeria and ginger.

"Hula is a dance that is completely unique to Hawai’i. Although in these modern days it is often performed to entertain, in ancient times hula played a critical role: to preserve and perpetuate the stories, history, culture, and traditions of Hawai’i. A hula dancer visually conveys the meaning or story behind a particular chant or song." See more: Hula

 I am posting a video from YouTube of what it looks like at a competition.


And women:

Saturday, November 02, 2019

The Big Island

Aloha, mahalo, hula and humuhumunukunukuapua’a. Those are the four Hawaii words I know.

We have just arrived on the Big Island, at Kona. I’ve lived on the islands numerous times while Amy has never been before. To her credit, she knows more Hawaiian. A week before we were to leave, a book arrived in the mail—the Hawaiian dictionary. Now she is teaching me words.

Yesterday I wrote my first entry in my island journal:

It feels good being back to Hawaii. Our bungalow in Kona is sweet. It is back of a home high on a hillside facing the ocean. Can’t see much from our windows because we are in a backyard surrounded by lush vegetation. The place is private and clean. I like the sounds of birds and unusual rich smells of earth and flowering things.
Today we found a quiet beach, Kaloko-Honokohau. It is part of a National park which protects remains of dwellings of original people. It has many sea turtles. 

Once in the water, I had the luscious feeling of not wanting to leave. Amy does not know how to swim, but I enjoyed seeing her in her bathing suit and coaxed her into a a wonderful protected cove where the water was not over her head.

As I swam and floated, looking out to sea and the endless horizon, I realized the vastness of water—then pondered upon all the souls who perished on voyages when they became lost and lacked water. This led me to think of a metaphor of countless people who have all the water of life they need, yet are thirsty.

Humuhumunukunukuapua’a is a reef trigger fish.