The view from my balcony….

imageThen the clouds came in…as they do, and the aquamarine of the sea, turned to grey, with distant navy  blue on the horizon.

There were miscellaneous boats about.  A large catamaran, and various other moored sailboats, and the “parasail boat” was being loaded onto its trailer for the evening, eager to take up into the air vacationers who sought the thrill of flying upon the open air, in a kite suspended gingerly above the ocean, keen for the thrill of a lifetime.

It was somewhat quiet on the pier this afternoon. There was a misty rain that lingered throughout the day, and the blackened pavement beneath, held some puddles where the road sagged.

Looking towards the volcano, there were low clouds that hung heavy on the trees.  There was a mist that clung to the air, and the fragrant smell of plumeria was in the breeze.

There was still the steady hum of the window air conditioner, and as I sat gazing out onto the endless ocean, I wondered for perhaps the thousandth time… what secrets did the future hold?

My friend who came with me to this glorious “Eden” remarked that it looked like at any moment, a T-Rex would come storming from the mist, and plunder the island, and its inhabitants.  I’m not sure if they filmed “Jurassic Park” here, but it certainly feels about right.

There is a certain expectancy to the atmosphere that surrounds, and as my friend  Jeri  remarked the other day…what must it have felt like when “Vesuvius” erupted, and the people were buried alive? What of Pompeii?..  We are after all ..on an island in the middle of the Pacific on a rock made of lava…oh the things that humans will do.  The places we will build, and yes… we will come here, because it’s well… indescribable…and it beckons us to come hither…and so…we do..

We are full of faith.. it’s in us. There is something that tells us that tragedy will strike someone else… not our family, not our lives…..We travel, and vacation on this island, with a known active volcano on it, and we drink mai tai’s, slather on sun screen, and eat delicious mahi mahi, and enjoy  papayas, pomelos, avacadoes, and mangoes with nary a care…and let’s not forget the Kona coffee…because we believe… that we are safe… we are in paradise…so… we let our guard down, we relax.

There is so much bounty… no wonder Captain Cook wanted to explore time and again  this place…here… An oasis in the middle of the Pacific.the sandwich islands….it’s like a dream to a weary sailor/explorer/wanderer…it’s heaven.  However..we know what happened to that chap!… Things did not go so well for him with the island natives…like..at all.

A traveler comes here to return.. yes perhaps.. even “A Return to Eden,” to borrow a title.  It is sanctuary.. it promises rest, and yet, there are not just a few homeless souls that I witness lingering about, sleeping on the warm concrete, and sitting on the ocean wall.  I am saddened  by these that I see.  They seem haggard, ship wrecked in their hearts and minds.  Some are muttering away to themselves, while others, stare with glassy eyes at the tourists that pass by.. begging, hoping, for some generosity of spirit, a scrap of hope, a prayer for dignity.

How long have they lived in these streets, sought sanctuary in this place?  Where are their families, and what do they think of those of us who walk by, with food in our bellies, and money in our purses?.. What  of them..what are their stories?  I find myself curious to know…

We walked quite a long way the other day, she and I.  It didn’t seem like the road would be too long.  We had taken the tour bus the other day after all. It was 15 minutes by bus, so it couldn’t be that much longer by foot now could it?

Hmmmm….apparently it could.

The sights along the way we’re inspiring… unexpected, and fulfilling.

 

Flip flops were not the best choice for this walk to the beach, which as we recalled from our trolley ride  from the day before was breezy, scenic, and rather lovely.

The sun was high in the sky, and the moisture in the air dripped down our backs, and dampened our brows.  It felt Iike  the promise of a sandy beach was just around the next bend, and we giggled, as yet again, our destination proved elusive, and we continued to plod ahead.  We were adventurers, just like dear old Captain Cook, so we were not about to give up on our quest for a lounge by the sea.

Imagine my delight at coming upon a water fountain along the road.  It was quaint, it was real…I was delighted.  The fact that it said that God loved me, pleased me further.  It was some “living water” to wet my parched lips.  The carving in the stones beside the fountain spelled Jesus….and I stopped for a moment just to take in my surroundings.  There was a lovely peach painted cottage in the background, and I could have been quite content to enter that space, and never leave again.  It felt like a place of refuge…

All it takes to feel welcome is a kind invitation, and the promise of friendship, a place to lay ones’ head.  This island feels like it is space to heal, to re-group, to find  what you have lost in a way.  It is irresistible to me…

The people we have met have been so friendly, so kind.  It has been refreshing to us.  It has been hopeful.  It has been healing.

There is much to learn…always… in this life.  It is a time to forgive…to let go…to move past.  It seems awkwardly difficult to forgive yourself I find… for your misgivings.. the things you didn’t do, the utterances you wish you didn’t say.

Yet…4 mikes later… there it was… it felt like an oasis  to us..Magic Sands, the beach.. it was real.  We reached it.  As our tired toes hit the powdery white sand, we felt transformed.  We made it.  We didn’t give up.  Our feet wanted too clearly.  The balls of our feet screamed at us to stop, but we believed….

There is a haven at the beach.  The sound of the surf crashing onto the shore.  The way children laugh amidst the roar of the waves.  Kids with boards run headlong towards the water doing crazy flips in the air.

Pulling out our beach towels, we snacked on sweet bananas, and macadamia nuts.  Our books with watermarks and crinkled pages were our welcome companions.  We read, and we observed, and entered into beach life.

Swimmers gathered around a sea turtle swimming by, and the life guard called out sporadic warnings of hidden rocks just under the surface.

This just spoke to me.  The water looks welcoming, and fun, but what of the hidden boulders just beneath.  These are the things that can forever maim a person if you were to dive  onto it unexpectedly.

There are dangers just beneath the surface.  Always… so do we just sit on the sand, become an island and stay fearfully away from the wonder of the sea?

Maybe for a time… it is the right thing to do.  Healing takes time after all.  There is a need to sit with oneself, and to be an observer of life from afar.

Rest is required….This is a place of rest.  Our lives seem to move at an ever increasing breakneck  speed, and resting gets squeezed out like it isn’t a necessary requirement in our lives.

But it is…in rest you remember to feel, to grieve, to let go of anger, and hopefully move into a place of healing… Slowly, ever so snail pace slowly, your sense of wonder returns, and you take steps to venture out into the ocean again.

Sometimes those first toe dips in feel unfamiliar, and cold, but you give yourself over to the wonder of it all, and soon you find yourself giggling with wild abandon like the toddler running towards the water, her Mother in quick pursuit of her.

The gift of the beach, and the ocean…so grateful for it all…

 

 


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