(Can’t believe I forgot to post this 9-months ago. I guess that’s the way life goes these days. But without further ado, these gratitudes are still deserved and owed…)
Sitting on my little porch couch with last-sweeping views pre-gaming our final sunset, I’m aching for a way to anchor the last 6-weeks in that little pocket of my heart where memories are kept.
So I start with a nap. One of those mom-naps. You know that quick skinny-dip of sleep that might start with a book in hand that you never had any intention of reading. Progresses with heavy-lids. Commences with an, “I’ll just close my eyes for one second….” Bobs like a buoy as your subconscious throws out a fishing line. And takes off running, pole and all, after an imperceptible nibble, and a whopper of a bite heading like a train up the unconscious stream. The line yanked violently back in the boat with the snap of your child’s voice waking from his nap. Bait gone. Line blowing in the wind. See ya dream fish.
My elusive fish, however, has left me a gift: a mini-surge of animo to make it another hour, another meal, maybe all the way to bath time. Thank you mom-nap.
Fish released, animo captured, I grab my laptop. For the other reliable way I know to anchor an experience: gratitudes.
Dear Big Island,
Thank you for the sand permanently under my fingernails and in my scalp. Thank you for our callused feet. Thank you for the melatonin you coaxed from the bum lines of my little babes. Thank you for the mahi and ahi and aku you oiled and salted and peppered and put on our sunset plates. Thank you for the exclamations of awe inspired by the black and white insides of your technicolor dragonfruit. Thank you for the stark and sharp lava rock bringing new meaning to old shades of blue and green. Thank you for the slow flight of manta rays and their care-not-ness for revelers. And thank you pod of wild spinner dolphins; watching your luminous body outlines take shape from the depths, ascend, and crest like silver moons took my breath away in a truest glimpse of unharnessed beauty. Thank you also for the unexpected mini-panic attack on the floor of the ocean and the hand of my love bringing my breath back. Thank you for the critters in tide pools teaching my little guy how to inspect dark holes for surprises. Thank you for the gentle waves luring my little girl into unabashed collisions. Thank you for the chameleons and crickets chased by flashlights around the house. Especially any of those that might have lost a leg, antenna or tail in the business of eliciting leaps and screams from small children. Thank you for the artwork of those incredible painted fish. And that subsequent splash of spiritual wonder of how something so divine could possible be earthly-inspired. Thank you for the shy (still unidentified) little ground birds for cleaning up all the crumbs swept from carseats post road trip. And for the donkey and his camouflaged rump, outlined in gold from the setting sun, and spotted daily in a game of seek by my boy. Thank you Mauna Kea for crowing and condoning our visit and teaching my little boy how to “go above the clouds.” And thank you Kilauea for letting us crawl across your dark and steaming belly, and that glimpse of your flickering tongue of lava. We fear you, with all due respect. Thank you Pacific ocean, for becoming the blue canvas of our every vista. Thank you for the sweat, and salt, and sand and subsequent intolerable body ornamentation of anything other than a short layer of breezy, soft, cotton. Thank you for the sweet tart and tang of apple bananas, so depressingly unknown to mainland. And the way we all closed our eyes and gone-to-heaven-died with diced mango melting on our tongues. And for the life of that enormous poisonous centipede that we probably should not have killed so violently. (Really sorry about that.) Thank you for the wild guava trees. And for teaching us through curiosity that the skin is edible. Thank you for that glimpse of grand baby reaching up to take Grandma’s hand. Thank you for the fact that “looking for constellations” has become a standard 4th step of the children’s bedtime routine. Thank you for those wild, howling, winds. Reminding us, all night long, that nature reins. Thank you for those precious sunrising seconds when both babes crawled into bed and sat still long enough to to let us eat their perfect necks and chew their perfect spines until their hysterics turned into arm-yanking and demands for breakfast. Thank you for the dark rum taking the edge off the day and letting the sunset seat grow deep. And thank you for that setting ball of fire. Pulled under the island by the manta ray, through a lava tube all night, just in time to bring up another day on the other side. According to Hawaiian lore. And thanks to history. For bringing us to this peaceful moment of obscene accessibility; an island it used to take 6-months of treacherous sea to reach, a journey now challenged only by fights with your neighbor over an armrest. Thank you big island. I will put these memories in my sandy pocket. And take them with me everywhere.2