Surprised

Beltane and the Shadow Mountain Moon

Monday gratefuls: Kevin and Charlene. Dim sum. Waikiki. The Beach. The Ocean. Verizon’s billing department. Taiwan. The National Museum in Taipei. Lin Shing Long. BJ. Annie. Sarah. Jon. Ruth. Gabe. Murdoch. Kep and Rigel. Kate, always Kate. The Animals we love. Have loved. Will visit someday if the Rainbow Bridge is real. I hope so.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: One month on Oahu.

Joe, Kevin. Pathway to Beach at Waikiki

Started yesterday with two Zoom calls. Ancient Ones: Tom, Paul, Mark, Bill. Then, family: Jon, Annie, BJ, Sarah, Ruth, Gabe, Joe. Over the last month, from Joseph and Seoah’s patio or their couch I’ve linked with primary support systems though on Island far out in the Pacific. CBE and my Hebrew language class Zoom, too. My core support of course is Joe and Seoah and by the hand of Covid, my sister, Mary.

I do have tertiary support available through the Denver Hospice if I feel the need. Not yet. Joe’s buddies at work and even Seoah’s extended family in Korea are also tertiary support, supporting the supporters. Kevin, his Taiwanese colleague, also a major, working the India desk, took over Joe’s duties when Joe came to Colorado. He also put together a card and some cash. Touching and appreciated.

Had the chance to thank him in person yesterday over dim sum in Honolulu’s surprisingly big (to me) China town. Pushy waiters and waitresses kept slapping bamboo crated steamers and white porcelain plates filled with savory rolls, congee, special noodles, vegetable pot-sticker like dumplings, Shrimp this, Shrimp that, a tasty Turnip pancake. Two pots, always filled, of tea. Small white tea cups. Chop sticks. Which Joseph asked me if I knew how to use. Yes.

We ventured afterward to Waikiki which I wanted to see because I’d never been. Also surprising to me. Bigger, by a lot. And so upscale. Fendi. Coach. Rolex. Bulgari. Tanned and muscled bikini clad women and ridged ab men. On the sidewalk. A woman strolled by as we drank coffee. Gucci bags. Her husband carried two, she had two. Big bags. Another women, late fifties in a tight dress, cork platform heels, pushing a stroller. Her chubby hubby, in Valentino and Fear of God preceded her.

The Beach had multiple small tents with loungers, deck chairs, towels. Surf boards stood stacked by the retaining wall in front of the very pink Royal Hawaiian Hotel. The crowded Water had swimmers and surf boarders, breaking Waves. A few plastic inner tubes dangled from arms. Not many children. And this is before tourism has hit its post-Covid stride. This introverted, mountain living, nature preferring guy was happy to have seen this once. Seoah, who spent 10 years living in Gangnam, the upscale Seoul neighborhood, said she felt comfortable. I didn’t. And, didn’t want to.

Vintage Hawai’i. That’s what I had in mind. Hula dancers. Cheesy luaus. Bronze skinned surfers using the old long boards. A fancy white woman on vacation, flower dress, lei draped over her shoulders. Her Flâneur beau strolling beside her. Perhaps a red sunset, Diamond Head towering over it all. All the hotels quirky like the Outrigger and the Royal Hawai’ian. Drinks set out on verandah tables with orchids floating in them. That sort of thing. Nope. Not. Even. Close. Probably never existed except among those of us who understood Hawai’i from old postcards and bobble-head dashboard hula dancers.

When Kate first suggested coming to Hawai’i, with that image in mind, I said no thanks. Yet she persisted. I fell in love. Not with the Beaches, but with the Ocean itself. With the Mountains and the Plants. The temperature. The smell of the Soil when you come out of the airport on Maui, Kauai, the Big Island. Those Polynesians in Outrigger Canoes sailing the trackless waters, coming here with Ti-leave shoots wrapped in Ti-leaves. Fish hooks. An understanding of the forces here. Named. Pele. Maui. Kane. Ku.

In Lahaina, the town of merciless Sun, the Whales, now for observing, but back in its forming, for Whale Oil, Blubber. Narraganset sleigh rides. Moby Dick. A provisioning place. Pigs, fresh Water, Fruit. Women. Ka’anapali beach with a Hyatt, a Westin, a Sheraton. Quieter. Walking the Beach and the trails there early in the morning before it got hot. Kate and I dining at Mama’s Fish House. Celebrations of landmark birthdays and anniversaries. Eating fish caught that day, the fisherperson’s name assigned to it. Climbing into Halakala’s caldera where the Clouds flow like a Waterfall over the Pali. Going up into Land owned by sugar plantations, having to get a permit at the main office. Getting lost on King’s Ranch on the Big Island. With one hand grabbing an exposed root as I slid off a trail between two ridges of the Na’apali Coast, saving myself from almost certain death.

Oh, Hawai’i.

Now the time of healing on Oahu. Another profound, life changing moment. In and on these Islands. Memories. The present. A future?

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