Be this sunset soon forgotten

April 21, 2006 at 4:12 am (Uncategorized)

There were so many things I had forgotten. The strange stripes of raw coal-black earth across an otherwise moderate landscape. The steep incline of the hills along my running route. The feeling of peace obtained by standing waist deep in a pool and laying your head on a sun-warmed arm along the edge. Cattle ranches, lava flows, snow, rainforest, white sand beaches and rocky cliffs all on one island (actually 21 of 22 ecosystems on one island). Traffic without the sound of horns. The total abandon that comes with falling asleep outdoors with a book on your chest. That sweet island music playing in every shopping complex and grocery store. A population of people who don’t own closed-toe shoes.

There is no glamour to our part of Hawaii. Every morning I woke before 8:30 am, went for a walk with my mom or a run on my own, showered, threw on a bathing suit, that jersey dress and flip flops and walked out the door. It didn’t matter if we were going to the grocery store, the pool, out for lunch, or just down the road to wander around the town. I let my hair air dry and wore no makeup. I never thought twice about an outfit. I ate when I was hungry, slept when I was tired, sat outside in the sun when I wanted to read and remembered what it felt like to be unencumbered by responsibility. When someone had a real desire to do something that’s what we did. I was craving sukiyaki one night, so my parents and I drove up into the hills to the great little Japanese place with homemade pie for dessert. My father wanted to play a certain golf course on the other side of the island, so my mom and I found a movie to occupy ourselves with. My mom wanted pizza (ironically, the best pizza west of New York is apparently on the Big Island), so we drove into town to have pizza for lunch. I wanted time by the pool, so my parents took daily naps. Between the three of us, we had concrete plans on 3 of our 7 days there…and two of those plans were my dad’s tee times.

I cared about nothing outside of my perfect little family unit and was just happy to be alive breathing air that smelled of the ocean. I never closed the sliding glass doors that led out onto the lanai (though after waking up with a huge flying cockroach on my elbow the first night, I began closing the screens!), I never turned on my cell phone, and I never checked email – work or personal. I don’t think I’ve gone more than a day disconnected like that since the ‘90s. Eventually, my jaw unclenched, my back stopped aching, my mind quieted, and my driving stride became a saunter. Writing this I can recall a little of that contentedness and peace, though it only took 8 hours at work for it all to disappear.

I’ve previously lamented my inability to meditate, but I think I’d just forgotten. Thinking of nothing is too much of a challenge for us beginners. Thinking of one thing is a much better place to start. And I had forgotten my thing – my memory. Because the thing I’d forgotten I missed most is the sight of the sun sinking inch by inch beneath the smooth, flat surface of the Pacific.


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