The day is breathless. Tiny green buds on the windward side of a stark Stemmadenia unfurl quaking, tender leaves. Dogs lounge in the morning sun while horses and cattle graze languorously in neighboring fields. Cardinals whistle and trill while doves bob in mating ritual on high tension wires. It is uncommonly quiet in North Kohala, an acrid volcanic haze tingeing a normally bright blue horizon to dull grey. Day-long sneezing jags and aching lungs mark the passing of yet another Kona front, but Nature seems not to take affront. When stalled tradewinds fail to strip moisture from the soil, grasses soak in dew, palpable right down to roots.
For all our winter precipitation, landscapes still thirst for water as long as trades are up. Knock these gusts back for a week or two and even without direct rainfall, shrubs, trees and grasses explode in growth and raging color. A stately mango maturing into its fourth season burgeons into rosy dreadlocks of flowers as it prepares to fruit in profusion. Pink grapefruit and Meyer lemon waft heady aromas. Delicate paklan blossoms saturate the night air while passionfruit weep from vines like goose-golden ova. Two acres of field grasses, untouched by blades for over six months now, are in need of weekly pruning. A normally tempestuous ocean lies flat and listless, save for humpbacks breaching and slapping offshore. Still the most striking feature is the absolute motionless air. The flat aching quiet.
Voices are gone – those normally careening on crosscurrents, whether human or netherworld. Vog seeps into the tiny folds of my aging brain; thoughts are difficult to form, physical movements are dull and laconic. Yet I remain a child of the earth, my body attuned to her heartbeat and pulse. Change is undeniably afoot, and after the flurry of the past few days, syncing myself with her rhythms allows me to pause and regroup, even as my sinuses rebel. I will know – as has happened time and again when the trades pick up – to make ready for whatever lies ahead. But for now I may lay down the inner yoke, only to shoulder it willingly once again when the time is ripe for harvest.