Evening steals across the sky with the subtlety of dispersing silvery tails of jet liners; like ink seeping into a desk blotter. It is fall here in North Kohala, and our winter is fast approaching. Night falls quickly as if caught off guard, the sun dropping into the sea with amazing facility, its sheer bulk and volume weighing onto blazing bones heavy from holding up our titillating visions of daylight. Birds chatter frenetically – not the urgent vocalizations of young in springtime; rather a rapid nightsong trilled out on one long desperate breath. Then it’s over. Dusk descends upon the land.
I have lived in the frigid northeast as well as on a Pacific island or two. Seasons still present themselves, if I attune to their subtleness. In marked contrast to a strong four seasons, Hawaiian winds shift like the hips of hula dancers. Blowing haze obliterates a clear view of neighbor islands – north here stares down south on the other, where rains finally arrive to drizzle and spit at parched earth. Night and morning each present a welcome chill to the air. Mid morning brings increasing tradewinds and intermittent showers, launching arcs of prismatic color into azure skies. Dogs are restless, barking sporadically all day long as mongoose and birds scurry about, startled in scanty patches of dried guinea grass and shrubs. Soon an emerald blanket of privacy will return, and we in turn will haul mowers into service after months of sitting idle in the garage.
This is the vision of the land, cast from the belly of volcanoes into clumps of jagged jet black rock. Sandy beaches arrived eons after. Tourists flock to resorts we residents consider fantasy encampments thrust unnaturally onto stark landscapes. Without water and plenty of it, abundant foliage would ebb back, revealing miles of lava beds and little else. Like standing naked before others in a locker room, the vulnerability some feel when stripped of golf courses and beach loungers must be akin to a good hiding from the powers that be. Seeking solace in wild places evokes healing in some, but for others it is simply punitive.
And so we ready ourselves, countrified humans and breeding humpbacks, bluegreen ocean and jagged shoreline, for the onslaught of snow birds already overdosed on the impending harshness doled out by Mother Nature in their part of the world. Our breath mingles with that exhaled from every far corner of this great and wide world, and we discover, to our continuing amazement, the living spirit of aloha under a spreading canopy of heaven.