My family went on our long-awaited trip to Kona. Like everyone else in the world our travel plans were put on hold in 2020. When I say family, I mean sisters and brothers, and aunts and uncles, and grandma. There were twenty people, ranging from 76 to 3 years of age. This large group created tension and stress at times, but it also added laughter, love, and support.
I brought my computer and my journals and two books to read. I had every intention to write and work on edits. What better place to write than sitting at the edge of the Pacific surrounded by black lava and white sand? My mind would finally find a more natural flow and I would breathe more deeply, leaving the stress of my air conditioning not working in Redding where numbers were reaching 117 degrees of the yellow jackets and their 2000 plus wasp mates attacking me and the air-conditioning man who came to fix the issue only to take off running leaving my unit open and nonfunctioning. I left behind my electrical issue that was partly tied to my air conditioning not working, but now part of the panel was blown and sending heated wires into my wooded house. I left behind my water regulation issues and told the plumber that I would be back soon.
I also left behind looking for editing jobs. I left behind searching for a new agent. I took the Facebook app off my phone, and when my kids were with me, I left behind my phone.
I left behind issues of sharing custody of my daughter. I left behind the pain of not having my daughter on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and one weekend night. All this time adds up to 43% as our court order states. When I sit and let this percentage run over me, it breaks my heart. It isn’t that if I had her full time, she and I would be together all those hours, of course not. She has friends and sleep overs, school, and soccer. I have friends and work. The pain comes from that I have no to little access to her those hours. I often think of Demeter and her daughter Persephone when I allow myself to, but I suppose all that is best left for another blog and maybe it has nothing to do my life as a writer—but if I said that I’d be lying.
What I want to explore is living and reflections. I am drawn to writing a log of our travels and dinners and outings. But if I do that, then I’d be leaving out the moment I laughed, or cried, or grew angry, or felt joy. I suppose if I wrote a full narrative of the trip then I could do both—isn’t that story? Actions and internal feelings and thoughts—of course there is the narrative arc which this wouldn’t have, so this isn’t a story.
This is what happened in Kona: I lived. There were moments where I was alone that I’d read and meditated simply listening to the waves and watching the horizon. There were moments I sat with my family and listened to talk about Covid numbers or what to do for the day. I swam in the waves at Hapuna—just swam for hours and jumped up and down in the waves. I watched my son at the beach, pool, jungle as he hung nearer to his uncles than me needing that male energy. Anika and I, we held hands in the waves or as we walked to dinner. I climbed a banyan tree and hiked down to the river at Akaka Falls, hearing one tourist say, “They’re going to end up with leaches all over them.” And I thought wouldn’t that be wild. My head spun with time, as if in a machine, when I walked into the small artisan wood shop near Waipio Valley. How many times have I been in this same place? 20 or is it 25? I took surfing lessons and stood on my first wave. I staired at the small droplets of dew on moss while in the cloud forest at a coffee plantation.
I could go on and on. Elias’s smile. Anika’s filthy feet. My mother saying that she is lonely because she is not in a room with us when we moved hotels. She was across the hall.
These were moments that I lived and was present for. Will these memories, the adventures make great literature? Probably not. But they make me great. Great in the way that life is beautiful, and I am learning that I do not want to say, “I have waisted my life” as the narrator says in James Wright poem, “Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy’s Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota.”
Did I write that there was a pod of spinner dolphins playing in Kealakekua Bay, jumping and spinning?