It's an interesting experience traveling familiar ground with folk I don't readily associate with this place. I'm learning new things about it. We tried stand-up paddle boarding under the experienced tutelage of my father-in-law. Turns out I love it; who knew? Love it enough that I might try it on our considerably colder end of the Pacific when I next find myself in Santa Cruz.
Occasionally, though, I'm diverting the group or my own two feet to beat familiar trails. This, in and of itself, is not without discovery.
White Sands Beach doesn't look the same. I stood there spinning around trying to adjust the world to a view two feet closer to the ground, and couldn't make it jive. "But there was a volleyball court," I said. And indeed there is a volleyball court, but it feels too close to the surf and oriented slightly wrong. Not that lines in the sand can't be redrawn.
The thing is, this beach remakes itself. Every massive storm that comes along picks up the sand and hauls it out to sea, leaving nothing but the rocky infrastructure behind. The sand returns. In time.
I shouldn't begrudge it the changes. I don't look the same either. It's been fifteen years or more since the tide has washed me back up on this shore. I have a few gray hairs and some apparent blue veins under the skin. Maybe White Sands doesn't recognize me either.
Kahalu'u down the road? Picture perfect to my memory. The rocks, the fish, the beach, the tiny shells in the sand. Even the ice cream truck is right where I remember it. My son declared it the best beach ever in the whole wide world. I can almost see a ghost of my six-year-old self running by in floaties agreeing with him.
On the way down into Kailua, a downed telephone pole blocked the road, diverting us back the way we came. I, in the driver's seat, was attempting to find a thoroughfare to the higher road, and turned into a residential area. In front of me I saw a street sign. "Whoa. Do you mind if we stop a minute?" My companions assented and I turned up Naniloa Street, and not three houses down was my grandparents house. Right there. I hadn't intended to visit it, but the island, it seems, had other ideas.
"Why on earth did they paint the roof blue?" I wondered aloud, but I smiled while I said it. I'm glad no one was home. I'm glad no one came out and asked me in. This way my baby shoes are still inside the door, the lower room is still full of watercolor palettes and ready canvases. The room off the living room on the second floor is still full of Grandma's treasures from oriental travels: brass finger symbols, carved elephants, empty birdcages. I grabbed a freshly fallen plumeria flower from the lawn and tucked it behind my ear. I wore to lunch at The Kona Inn (an old favorite), through the streets of Kailua town, and up to the Kona Brewing Company for dinner, where I don't think I've ever been before. A bit of what-once-was washing onto something new, old sand returning to change the shore.