The Shifting Sands of Time


I want a boat. My husband agrees, on alternate Saturdays. My youngest daughter thinks I’m crazy. It’s expensive, mom! There’s storage and maintenance! Not to mention the danger of the Alanuihaha – a channel not to be trifled with on the best of days. Yet I so yearn to be on the water in a visceral sort of way; long to motor up the coast to cast eyes back on the verdant-crested rugged shoreline of this, the Big Island.

As a child growing up in the foothills of the San Gabriel mountains during the 1950’s, I exercised a great deal of freedom, especially compared with what children must endure today. Lack of safety in our neighborhood was absolutely a nonissue. I remember walking barefoot to Hamilton Park several blocks away, clad only in my favorite baggy seersucker shorts. That memory, then, must harken back to before I developed breasts, yet I still recall the embarrassment of older boys teasing me for going topless. The day I donned a t-shirt officially drew the curtains on my childhood.

I did, however, recapture that carefree prepubescent audacity when I was allowed, from time to time, to perch on the faded red prow of our Chris-Craft as she parted the waters, both salty and fresh. Leaning back while holding onto the chromed line cleat with my right hand, the thrill of cruising at top speed while dragging my left through the blue of wake proved indescribable. The day my father was apprehended by the Coast Guard for letting us kids ride atop her in this manner marked passage of a different sort. I began understanding curtailment of liberty.

In a life fraught with challenges and changes, a boat somehow seems a justifiable luxury. And yet the wisdom of an adult baby girl rings in my ears: attending to yet one more weighty responsibility may well offset any lasting pleasure derived from an occasional foray into the Pacific. Swimming, on the other hand, is free – and I feel delightfully unencumbered and unafraid in deep water. Perhaps it’s why I’ve postponed the boat thing, lo these seven years. Still, the temptation remains. Am I trying in my own offbeat way to recapture youth? The very thing I deem impossible; even a waste of time? Or is my body, itself mostly water, merely yearning to bask in its own element in these shifting sands of time?



7 thoughts on “The Shifting Sands of Time

  1. HI Bela,

    As always, loved your post. For me it resonates in terms of an intrinsic desire versus a thoughtful decision. Between these polarities lies a continuum and I guess we are apt to land more and more on the decision making side as we grow older. As we continue to lose those wistful dreams of our childhood. But does this always have to be like this? I wish I could answer this……

    Thank you.


    1. Shakti, you are a kidred spirit. I so appreciate your thoughts, as always – and I believe you are right, certainly in my case! The impulsiveness of youth gives way to discernments and judgments that never held me back before. Although I am grateful, it does seem to dampen the spirit, from time to time. Like you, I don’t know what The Answer seems to be – only to continue on, learning and growing and choosing what feels best, over all – in any particular circumstance.
      Blessings to you!

  2. Love this. It reminded me of days during my childhood when my family and I would take my uncle’s Boston Whaler up to the river and spend the day tubing, while also enjoying just being out on the water. I sure do miss those carefree days sometimes. 🙂

  3. what a splendid idea, though i shall pass, i like to be in the water not ON the water, i get so sick i want to die! It is awful, so i shall wait for you on the beach!! get yourself a boat!! c

    1. Tee-hee, thanks Celia 😀
      I’m sorry for anybody who gets seasick – it’s no fun. I only witnessed it once, when my daughters, my husband and I rode across the channel between Moloka’i and Maui back in the early nineties. It was winter. On a ferry. Need I say more!? Pitch and roll and disel fumes in the wee hours of the morning did NOT a pleasant journey make. I’ve never seen people actually turn green until that time. All three hurled the contents of their stomachs into a nearby trash barrel. And I walked up on the windy, salt-sprayed deck to avoid doing the same.
      I never have gotten seasick. I’m too in sync with the ocean, I guess 😉

  4. Yes, wasn’t all that freedom great? I do wonder what kids will be doing when they suddenly discover freedom.

    Likely Hawaii has the saying as we have here on the West Coast: There are two fantastic days in owning a boat – the day you buy it and the day you sell it.

    I’m content in a kayak!

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