Home is Where the Heart Is

Different, these seasonal shifts here in Hawaii. It has been the coldest winter that we have experienced in nearly a decade of living on the islands. Yet unbelievably to most mainlanders, spring is here. Birds are mating, horses are shedding and the wind’s currents here on the north shore shift in every direction, pulling windmills into unfamiliar patterns. Rains continue, still without complaint from us as we are situated in a dry area prone to drought these past few years.

spring skies - North Kohala, Big Island

The landscape seems charged with magic. Shrubs and trees planted only a few years ago that started a foot high have grown up to fifteen feet. Farmers markets explode in lettuce, kale, bok choy, chard – beets maturing from seed reach a foot tall inside a couple of weeks. Citrus trees are heavily laden with fruit and baskets and bowls of them sit around the kitchen like unmoving guests awaiting a banquet. Bananas hang in bunches in the garage, ripening in stages.

Planted when a foot tall, native white hibiscus and blue clerodendrum now shade west-facing kitchen windows from the blaze of afternoon sun.
Yet somehow I find myself reminiscing about the northeast, awakening in its own profound sense in its own time, still a couple of months distant. After thirty-two years on that coast, I miss not the cold and hardship that winter brings, but the unmistakable transition of the seasons, the land emerging from its blanket of white and grey into greens, reds, yellows, periwinkles, violets and pinks in any palette you might imagine. The lime green of sedges; the brilliant orange of copse fungi. Growing things that seem to sense they have only a brief time in which to deck themselves splendiferously out.
image of evening grosbeaks: vermontgreenthreads.blogspot.com
Birds gather and descend onto land, seeking the abundant feast that awaits. Flocks of purple-sheened grackles crack and caw, settling sleek black bodies onto half-rotten fenceposts. Evening grosbeaks stun with brilliant colors dreamed only in the tropics. Loons lilt overhead, heavy-boned bodies laboring to alight onto stretches of open water. Foxes, marten, bear and raccoon; moose, deer, skunk and mink resume mating rituals. The woods vibrate with life; underground springs gurgle as last year’s leaves mulch into thickly carpeted trails.
springtime and our garden awaits - Goose Pond, ME
Yes, our island spring is glorious to behold. Northern New Englanders have to yearn a month or two yet, before snowmelt and mud give way to popping buds and solid pathways. Patience is ever rewarded, however, with vistas altered by the passing of the seasons. Nothing, and everything, changes – revealing itself afresh to wondrous eyes fixed on changing horizons.
Goose Pond - image: Steve Shelton

16 thoughts on “Home is Where the Heart Is

    1. Yes! Shakti, do you know – I grew up with the Beatles, not Elvis. It took my youngest daughter, who, at three years of age, began loving Elvis more than anything. I began appreciating his music from that time forward!

  1. SWAP YA! Well just for a holiday!! We are at the long brown stage, with just a touch of green coming through, it is sunny outside tho.. I would love just a tiny bit of your warm sea breeze! fancy you having a cold winter. NZ had a cold summer too and we had a mild winter.. hmm.. have fun.. c

    1. Yeah, I hear you, C – I remember those days quite well. Miss them, in a weird and dreary sort of way πŸ˜‰
      Hmmm is right – global warming is alive, well and afoot.
      Hope Mia has recovered …

  2. Hi,Bela, your post is poetic, nostalgic and hopeful. I felt the sense of spring today for the first time, as the koi cover was removed from our pond and the fish had their first snack of the season. I was up in Rhode Island for a few days, and the weather there was in the 60s. Mother Nature is playing cat and moue with us!


  3. The tropics amaze me. Trees growing 14 feet in a few years – glorious. I love to hear about the proliferation of flora and fauna on our planet.

    We’ve had a mild winter.

    My island is in one of the mildest areas in Canada. We keep it a secret, but have a variety of fruit trees, including bananas. Palm trees survive without a problem and tropical flowers survive winters with some greenhouse support. My lawn will be due for a trim fairly soon. The only downside to warm winters is the survival of certain insects that become destructive when over-populated.

    Doesn’t Elvis look so sweet? My heart can still swoon over him after all these years.

  4. I wonder what a ‘cold’ winter feels like on the north side of the Big Island? Conversely we are having the warmest winter I can ever recall since moving to Maine in 1985. By contrast, the winter of ’85 was very snowy with piles that were so high that finding a place to shovel the latest layer became a challenge. I remember having to lift shovelfuls above my head on top of snow banks. I haven’t needed to use my snow shovel at all this winter and forget the cross-country skis. It sounds like you have something akin to the winds of March happening in Hawaii. As we get warm sunny days and cold nights in March it stirs-up the air. We’re planning to build a greenhouse-like sun-room off the south face of a garage we’re going to put in here in Bass Harbor. I’m hoping to get a taste of warmer months when it’s still cold but sunny outside. “Mudseason” is a purgatory that can be a challenge to get through. It’s a tease to have a few spring-like days and get plunged back into cold winter stuff. I long to lounge around in the sun outside and not feel cold. I miss Evening Grosbeaks. They are getting scarcer. I love the spring bird chorus. I look forward to the return of beautifully plumed warblers and to refreshing my memory of their calls so I can recognize them by sound. So many memories brought up by your post. Thank you.

    1. Hey, gal: Sorry to hear about the grosbeaks – how strange. Must be the lack of snow or the changing climes … sad. I so looked forward to them coming about this time of year.
      I do remember a few winters among the 32 I spent there that were bare. Missed skiing, as you say. It just doesn’t seem right without snowmelt and snow fleas πŸ˜‰
      Spring’s a-comin’ – and that’s a promise! Let’s hope the mud dries up quickly for you this year.

  5. Spring is here in my little piece of Vancouver Island, too – which gets its mild winter temperatures in the winds from your Islands. (We call our winter rains the pineapple express.) It is always very green, here in the temperate rain forest climate, and there is little snow, usually, except on the mountains that run down the centre of the Island. The green is a delight to the eyes and balm to the winter soul ~ but still, I miss my home mountains of the Selkirk range. I do not know why I am so tuned to the vibrations of the Selkirk mountains, but it is so…Every place has its own, and very particular magic, I suppose, and one could spend a lifetime trying to understand. I do think, though, that the more pronounced demarcations of seasons is a very visceral remembrance of the rythym of life… a body memory? Ah, the time has changed, I slept in, and I am still a little fuzzy headed I believe. Perhaps you understand anyway πŸ™‚

    1. I do understand! Not fuzzy headed at all. I agree, I think it’s a visceral, bodily memory we have for certain places. It does defy logic, as one can live in a wholly beautiful place and never quite feel ‘at home’ as they did in another location. And perhaps it IS that pull of the seasons on one’s insides – we are, after all, 90% water.
      Thanks for coming by and contributing your depth of thought, as always VivianLea.

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