When I lived in Maine where seasons merged at nature’s whim, I was often devastated by the sudden and profound advent of the equinox. In thirty-two sets of seasons, I can honestly say I was never fully prepared. Perhaps as a result of my birth and upbringing on warmer shores, I lacked the intuitive sensitivity to tinges of morning frost. Too energized by the thin air and wafts of wood smoke in my nostrils; too enthralled by the variety of wildlife scurrying about, readying for the inevitable. Too enchanted with the labors of loons launching overhead, furiously flapping wings to offset the density of solid bones, their lilting cries piercing the stillness of morning. Often and one time too many, I was too distracted by beauty to repair to the warmth of hearth and home; just another sack full of leaves, one more armload thrown on the brush pile, ignoring the frigid hand of impending winter wrapping itself sinuously around the back of my bare neck.
Keeping pace with nature’s rhythms seems easier when living close to the heart of the land. Observing birds on the wing seems coded in my DNA. Gazing as a vista of landscape changes hues sets off a chain of invisible events as image hits retina. Just because I might not be aware of this happening does not make it any less stupendous. If I consider the million sensory impressions assaulting my body every day, there is no filter that can effectively cancel them all. And even if that were possible, I would not wish it into being. Changed and charged currents waft on breezes tinged with a still-damp winterchill. Dogs pick up their ears, cock their heads. The full-time simplicity of their lives grants them a necessary rhythm in acutely attuning to minutiae.
Life on Hawaii island may be simpler in many ways, but thirty-two years of syncing my body to the rhythm of four distinct seasons and it doesn’t easily give up the memory. I must fight this laconic feeling, this sense of endings, or I must flow with it as my ancestors have for generations, before the advent of technology which keeps us well wired but ill-grounded. Perhaps I shall leverage this leaden feeling to anchor myself more fully to the planet. Perhaps I will, with a certain muster of grace, embrace the warmth of this Hawaiian winter like a wraith gaining a bye on life; one final round before yielding to the great Unknown.