Day 58 – Botanical Diversity

img_0100

Grounding. Solace.

Alone again, after a great weeklong visit with my brother, I felt pulled to take a walk among plant life. I needed their help to remember how to feel rooted on this Earth. I needed their help to remember the diversity of life. I needed their help to remember that life can happen in dry, desolate, and harsh conditions.

Welcome to Koko Crater Botanical Gardens.

img_0044

In this 100,000-year-old crater or tuff cone – created from an ash eruption, a consequence of cold seawater entering the hot Koolau volcanic vent – a botanical garden was created to feature plants from arid areas of the world. Le’ahi (Diamond Head) is another tuff cone or, as my brother and I decided to call tuff cones, volcanic farts (you heard it here first!).

East Oahu – or any Lee or Kona side of an island – the climate is hot and dry. This made Koko Crater a perfect setting for this type of garden.

Although I am a card-carrying biologist, I think any curiously observant human who paused at the absurdity of life in places where water may come every several years, would be in awe at seeing the diversity of plants.

img_0030

Diversity in size, shape, color, texture, mechanisms to collect water, flower, fruit, reproduce…  The list is long.

They are all different species, different genus, and different families – and that is just looking at the plants from hot, arid climates. These plants over millions of years have figured out how to take root and survive. But why?

To give us humans something to ponder? Or is it something greater?

img_0034

Can it be the will to survive, that encompasses the ability to adapt and thrive no matter how difficult an environment may be or become?

IMG_0096.jpg

It is how we got to where we are – and it will be the reason for where we will go…

Sometimes it takes a walk in a garden to remind us of this…

Aloha!

Day 50 – Life Happens in Paradise 


Ah paradise, you are my Shangri La, the place where there are no worries, food is plentiful, play no work, and I will never get old.

Who am I kidding? Not you I hope. 

The food is not free. The housing isn’t either. And there are chores to do. 

Thanks to my neighbor monopolizing the washer/dryer – I get to experience Laundromat in Paradise.

The only difference to the laundromats of my past is – it is an open air laundromat. The temperature inside is the same as outside, unless you are standing next to the dryers.


The machines are the same as when I lived in Rogers Park and went every weekend with my mother to the laundromat on Howard east of Western Ave. 

Today I am reminded of that time. When the dryers take all your quarters.

Today I am reminded that life happens wherever you live. The ups, the downs, the beauty, the ugly.

Unless you modify your definition of paradise – you will never find it. It will always be a fantasy because there is always dirty laundry to wash.


Aloha!

Day 46 – Love with Abandon


Love with abandon. You have heard this adage before. You have wished for it.  You may have decided you will never know what this means. But you are experiencing it right now, every day, every hour, every minute.

You are loving Earth with abandon.

You think she will support you. You think she will always be by your side. You think she will care for you.

You have forgotten how your actions impact her. You have forgotten to nourish her. You have forgotten her.

When you wash your hair in the morning do you think about where the soap goes? Do you think she will drink it like an elixir of love?

When you go for your morning coffee do you bring your own mug? Or do you think she will take your trash and make diamonds from it?


When you look at her do you only see her beauty or do you see the wounds that you thoughtlessly imprinted on her? Erroneously thinking your love is enough to cure her.

Do you see those marks? They are yours. Only you don’t want to take responsibility for them. You say they are her problem. You say they were there before you met her. You say “I love you” as if it is a magic spell to break all curses.

It isn’t.


Her baggage is your baggage. That is what love means. True love needs care, attention, and respect. How did you forget?

Now is not the time to love with abandon, now is the time to love consciously.

Only then will you know love.

Aloha.

Day 44 – A day off in Paradise

When I first arrived in the islands, I was told that most people work two jobs in order to afford living here.

In other words, folks who live here, don’t have many days off. I have taken this to heart and am trying to make the most of my days off.

After all my weekend chores like laundry and catching up on homework as part of the MFA program I am in – I go have fun!

Yesterday I checked out the street festival called Hallowbaloo in downtown Honolulu.


I was misinformed by a coworker who said people don’t really go in costume – they do. So I put on my shades and, with tank top and blue jean shorts on, I was instantly wearing a tourist costume. 😎

This morning I decided to do something I have wanted to do since I arrived 6 weeks ago. Walk around Kailua. It was a 3-hour, 6-mile tour that took me to Lanikai, the Kailua Sunday Market, and back.

 

 

After lunch and a quick nap I wasn’t ready to do more homework – so I went on another adventure to Waimanalo. To get Dave’s ice cream!


I then went to the beach because the weekend isn’t complete without a dip in the ocean (after eating the ice cream, of course).


Aloha!

Day 41 – Island Driving

A picture is worth many stories. 

This photo tells the story of island driving. There are surprise lane closures – for trimming back the overgrown foliage- that then cause backups. Then there is the motorcyclist who is ready for a long road trip in the Pacific NW with leather jacket, pants, and boots, plus several carriers. It took me a moment to realize the hilarity of the scene. Where was he going? Why was he dressed in all leather? He looked like he was ready for a cross country trip.

Contrast that with a story from earlier this week –  a young man, who was driving a scooter, was killed when his buddy, who was also driving a scooter, stopped for a pedestrian. He wasn’t paying attention or was going too fast and slammed into his friend and flipped over his handlebars and died from head trauma – no helmet.

The most amazing thing I have seen while driving here was yesterday. I was driving home after going to the farmers market at the Windward Mall in Kaneohe. A fire truck was coming up behind me as I sat at a traffic light – the turn lane was full, the two lanes of traffic were full and there was an island in the median strip. As the fire truck came closer all of the cars began to crawl to this side and that side, but that wasn’t enough to make room for the fire truck. The miracle happened when two cars went into the intersection, slowly and cautiously, through a red light. You heard me right, people here know what to do in that kind of situation.

In Seattle I have sat in dismay more than once when I see drivers who don’t know what to do when a service vehicle comes up behind them.

I was stunned when I saw those cars pull into the intersection. Could Hawaii have better drivers than Seattle?

Lastly, did I tell you how much I love the Shaka? 

Getting Shaka’d when you let someone enter your lane is like a synergistic event. In Hawaii there is aloha in driving. You just need to be open to it.

Aloha! 🌴

Day 38 – Picture Story

My clunker

DelMar and I went on an adventure Sunday morning.

First we road to the trailhead for Kaiwa Ridge aka Pillbox. This hike goes straight up for about a quarter mile.


It was a moderately hard trail but the views were worth it.

Pillbox #2
Enchanted lakes
Pillbox #1
View of Lanikai and my hiking sandals (I Love my Chacos!)

After the hike, we road to the beach for a swim before heading to the Kailua farmers market.

Post swim happy!

Then it was back to the studio to get some homework done. And a nap later!

Aloha!

Day 32 – Feeling Local

Kawainui marsh

You know you are feeling like a local to Hawaii when…

  • You stop using Google maps to find your way around.
  • You take a different highway home – LikeLike instead of the H3 – just because.
  • You go out wearing a tank top without a bra on (not to work though)
  • You wear flip flops instead of your Chacos
  • You leave your flip flops at the Beach Access point
  • You smile at everyone and they smile back
  • You shaka without thinking
  • You are starting to say Howzit instead of How’s it going
  • You ride your clunker cruiser bike around town like a pro
  • You take the longer way home through Kawainui park (see photo)

When do you consider yourself a local?

Aloha!