Blue Stretching Away and Away

-2  52%  21%  7mph WNW bar29.58 steady  windchill-9

                Waning Crescent of the Winter Moon

I have passed into that curious liminal state before a longer trip.  The threads that hold me here release, one at a time.  Newspaper.  Mail.  Obligations at the Art Institute.  Dogs.  Obligations I can fulfill that will arise soon after I get back.  Notifying the neighbors.  The police.  Tickets.  Reservations.  Car rental.  Those are done or have a schedule.  At some point the attachment to this weather, this season, this place and its changes over the next four weeks will slip their knots and come unmoored.  

There is not only release.  There is also memory and anticipation.  That first night in Hawai’i, spent, improbably, at the Hawai’i Prince Hotel in Honolulu due to a late arriving flight from the mainland.  The curious Japanese appointments in the room.  Looking out that first morning to Waikiki beach.  The blue stretching away and away while white rollers hit a sandy beach. The palm trees.  All so other to a transplanted northerner. 

Exercise at 5AM, taking advantage of the cool before day break, walking on the wet beach sand, packed and unyielding.  Salt spray, ozone and suntan lotion, coconut oil still redolent from yesterday’s sun worshippers at their ritual obesiance.  Passing hotel after hotel, lounges closed, beach chairs chained together, patio cafe chairs turned up on their tables.  Onto to the common sidewalk, sweating.  The sun rays striking the apex of the sky long before light, as if Lady Liberty lifted her crown just behind the ancient volcanoes of Maui.  

Hikes up Haleakala.  One night up there well before sunrise with crescent moon low in the sky, breaking clouds scudding over its face.  The cold.

Dinners at Mama’s Fish House.  Ti leaves with rice and banana.  Fish caught that day, the fisherman’s name on the menu.  The windsurfers in their colorful rigs tempting fate on the sharp rocks.

Two times, both on Kauai, where I’ll spend two weeks this trip.  On a trail in the Waimea Canyon State Park.  I followed a trail, noticed it thinned out and got narrow, but I felt I could handle it.  Then, the rock and sand giving way, my hand grappling with a root, below me a 900 foot drop to a rocky canyon floor.   It was not the trail.  I had missed it.

The other time, on the Kalalau trail that winds along the Napali Coast.  Steep, rugged.  Up and down with slick rocks.  I explored a bit, going back up one canyon all the way to the wall, where the waterfall dropped from the canyon rim–the same distance I would have fallen–and splashed into a pool of water.  On the way back, I’d been on the trail 5 or 6 hours, I sat down, exhausted, drinking.  “Are you o.k.?” a kind woman asked, “I thought you might be having a heart attack.” 

Papaya.  The sunrise and the sunset.  Gentle winds.  A temperature which fits the human body.  More, so many more.  

All these memories begin to wend their way across the ocean, over the mountains and plains to ensare me as I sit here in the middle of the North American Continent waiting for the plane.