I’ve been pretty quiet since we got to Hawaii, eh? Maybe you’re thinking we’ve been out snorkeling and climbing volcanoes and diving with manta rays, but no — far from it. I think I lost some travel momentum while we were home for the holidays, so that starting out again has gotten me almost as off-balance as when we left North America for Scotland. Although I like it here, there’s been an undercurrent of anxiety underneath my daily routine, and I find myself unable to let go completely. I have mildly stressful dreams: begging a stranger to give me a haircut, watching friends trying to take photos atop cliffs near crashing surf, fleeing from vengeful policemen in Paris (too much Les Misérables, quoi?). I’ve been eating too much and not exercising enough, and in the first few days I had several pangs of homesickness and doubt.
Fortunately, there is probably no better place to chill out and ease into things than Hawaii, especially the Big Island, especially Waimea. We’ve stayed on California time (two hours’ difference), which means we wake every day with the sunrise. This was the view from our deck on our first morning here.
And a couple days later:
I can’t get over how wonderful the air feels here. It’s so mild, cool, and moist; Waimea is 2500 feet above sea level. We have to close most of the windows at night because it gets too chilly. This is not why most people come to Hawaii, but for me, it’s absolutely perfect. We leave the screen door open until bedtime, and I start every day with morning pages and breakfast out on the lanai.
I’ve found the lawn chairs a great place to sit and have a quick think or brainstorm. A few days into our stay, when I realized my low-grade anxiety was caused by too many open loops, I took my notebook out to the lawn and just wrote down everything that was occupying brainspace. I filled two pages and have since been gradually ticking off actions as I finish them. This makes me feel much better. Today I reorganized my whole email inbox (I know, again, not why most people come to Hawaii!!).
We often get visitors. Today there was a cat in the neighbors’ yard, and somehow someone’s little dog got into our yard and came sniffing around our door. And that’s just the domesticated fauna.
(Those are papaya trees above, by the way! Not very mature ones, I think, but we can make out some clusters of smallish green fruits.)
If we’ve correctly identified these charming creatures, they are Gold Dust Day Geckos. They come out in the afternoons, and I stop what I’m doing to watch them. They are very fast: they hop and leap and invert themselves in the blink of my slow human eye. Although they are cautious, if I don’t move, they sometimes come very close. One ran right up the side of my chair, stopping on the armrest within inches of my skin (I finally stood up because I didn’t trust myself not to scream if it decided to climb up my arm). Geckos are considered good luck by apparently everyone, likely because they eat mosquitoes and cockroaches (dear geckos!). Aren’t they beautiful?
While I was watching the geckos one afternoon, another little streak of lime went dashing across my field of vision. Before my conscious mind realized what it was seeing, I said, “Hey, that’s a different one!” And it was: a green anole, lighter-colored, sneakier-looking, and considerably less elegant than my little gilded new friends.
I should take a cue from our reptile neighbors and start running around more. Otherwise, I’m going to get very fat. Although Waimea is a small town (population 7,000), it is known for good local food, from the several upscale restaurants to the two (!) Saturday farmers’ markets (and a couple of bitty weekday ones too).
The supermarket sells pumpkin mochi and the most phenomenal ahi poke I’ve ever had, fresh daily in at least ten varieties. The fresh mahi-mahi plates and Oreo malt we had in another town weren’t too shabby either. You’ll have to roll me off the islands… but I’ll be smiling.