I am grateful and blessed to accompany my husband on a conference to Hawaii. I get to relax, ponder, pontificate, putz and bum around to my heart’s content for a whole 10 days with no children.
It is awesome.
I’ve been looking forward to going for months. I put the excitement a little at arms reach up until last week so that I could concentrate on the every day. And now I am here.
I’ve seen advertisements for it in the background, so much that it is a part of our American culture, for years. I’ve seen photos and people have talked of their vacations. I thought it would be a flashy tourist spot full of night clubs, crowded together by the ocean. I expected to see billion dollar homes near the resorts and opulence frosted with handsome surfers on the waves 24/7.
It is not at all what I expected. First minute off of the plane and I was starting to get the idea of the appeal of Hawaii.
It is a place that feels like home. It feels as though it was just waiting here, out in the middle of the ocean, just for people to come in and cultivate it and make it home.
The Kona airport is like no other. It is an outdoor airport. There is no air conditioning. There are no windows. There are no walls. There is a runway and several large canopies (though modern large and substantial brick canopies) over baggage belts. It blends into the land. You are certainly not separated from the land in Hawaii. You are very much a part of it.
Now, while I believe that the earth was not designed for the sole purpose of humanity, (see Douglass Adams quote:)
This is rather as if you imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, ‘This is an interesting world I find myself in — an interesting hole I find myself in — fits me rather neatly, doesn’t it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!’ This is such a powerful idea that as the sun rises in the sky and the air heats up and as, gradually, the puddle gets smaller and smaller, frantically hanging on to the notion that everything’s going to be alright, because this world was meant to have him in it, was built to have him in it; so the moment he disappears catches him rather by surprise. I think this may be something we need to be on the watch out for.”
it is certainly difficult not to see it that way here in Hawaii. It really feels like this place was made “just for me”!
The weather is perfect, the same every day, all year round. It is just a little humid, but not too much. The water is warm. The sand is soft. There is a freaking volcano here, so things are certainly not boring. The flowers are gorgeous. The scent of Plumeria if heavenly.
There are colorful birds tweeting all around. Every time I step out of the hotel I feel like the island is giving me a sweet embrace. It is paradise.
I feel some parallels between Tucson and Hawaii. They are both resort communities surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty. They are both places people go to when they want to relax and take stock. They are both places of peace.
They are also both places of isolation, for good and bad. There is a lot of wealth that runs through both but also those that live there must fight hard for a life if it is not connected to tourism. They are both places where children often leave to make their way in the world rather than stay to make their fortunes as young adults because of this fact.
So I feel a some kinship with Hawaii.
But, though I feel that it very much feels like home here, it is not my home. Hawaii reminds me that both our communities both need our TLC if they are going to survive, that as its caretakers, we must truly love the land and think of what we can give back to it. We are not the tourists in our own paradise, but stewards. We can’t just lay around drying up in the sun.
Though I do not want to abandon Tucson for the “greener pastures” (think Parker Ranch, ha ha) of Hawaii, I think I see it through the slightly different shade of tourist glasses. I am going to enjoy it in its homey way, drink up the natural beauty as much as I can, not go too overboard on the partying or shopping that is in all travel advertisements. I am going to freaking max out on all of the staring at the ocean – all of the beautiful blue water that I never see in the desert. You would not believe the volume of all of the pictures I have taken of waves, water and beaches so far.
In all of the places I’ve traveled, I can honestly say, this is one of my favorites. What a wonderful surprise. I knew I would like it but I absolutely love it. I hope we can come again someday, though there is certainly no guarantee.