Traveling home from a Hawaiian vacation and heading back into reality. Somewhat reluctantly, truth be told.
Aloha mongooses, bright green geckos,
Dolphins, parrotfish, and mynah birds
Aloha Keauhou Bay, Kahalu'u, Two Step, and White Sands
Aloha sweet plumeria flowers
Sulphurous volcanoes, and sudden rain storms
Aloha craggy black volcanic shores under overcast skies
Hello, goodbye, I love you
And until we meet again
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.
And towards the mountain we go.
I have no specific memory of visiting the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park as a child, though I must have done. I do remember driving out to see the lava trickle into the ocean once. A far-off red ribbon viewed from a perch on a rock with my grandparents and a buddy when I was twelve or maybe thirteen.
There is no left and right on Hawaii. There is makai (towards the ocean) and mauka (towards the mountain). As I am perhaps the only geographer with no innate sense of direction, this works out well for me. I can navigate with confidence when the two main landmarks are visually apparent no matter where you stand.
This is good because our various digital devices are having a hard time out here. And Siri's Hawaiian pronunciation is worse than her Spanish. ("Dos" has a long "o", love; it's not "daws".) We finally turned her off before she could try Kamehameha or Kealakekua again.
I had forgotten how the ocean smells different here. Of course it does -- different geology and different biology -- but it was something I hadn't remembered until I was standing on a craggy black pumice shore looking out over the water.
My grandparents lived here for about the first twenty years of my life. We visited in the summers. At least us kids did. I've been back to Hawaii once since then, but a different island.
Getting ready to board the plane. My son is plastered to the window at the gate watching the planes taxi up and down. It's his first flight. I wasn't too much older than him when I was flying by myself. Short trips off to see a cousin on the other side of the state. I can't imagine putting this kid on a plane by himself. Is that because to a mother a child seems way smaller than she ever was? Or is it because the world has moved on?