Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Dawn of Perspective

While some part of me is whining like a poorly tuned violin, and throwing big two-year-old temper tantrums about not being able to have my favorite things over here on Moloka’i, about being a little further from the ocean than I wanted and expected (a ten minute walk, not five like I was told), about not being able to actually hear the nearby ocean, there’s another part that’s so well aware of how ridiculous it all is on a certain, pretty fundamental level, that that part wants to slap the first part silly.

Good thing I believe in non-violence.

I’m reading a book right now that is serving both as conscience and inspiration. It’s called Tales of a Female Nomad, by Rita Golden Gelman, who at forty-eight, left a floundering marriage and elegant L.A. lifestyle (complete with dinners with celebrities and Academy Award and Grammy ceremonies) to pursue her dream of traveling the world and living with people in all different places and cultures. She sold everything she owned, threw what little she needed into a backpack and hit the road. Alone. Never having so much as eaten a meal by herself in a restaurant; the world at large becoming her home.

I’m not quite halfway through, but from the very first enjoyable page, it has had me squirming. Here I am, whining about not being able to have my daily green drink, my decaf green tea, for god’s sake, while her “possessions” amount to what she can carry on her back. And she is gloriously, abundantly rich compared to so many that she has lived among; and lucky as well, for she has chosen this life, also unlike those she has shared time and space with - entire villages where food is a scarce commodity; around the cook fires of women who are routinely beaten by drunk husbands, no escape even remotely possible; sharing rides in the 80's with young men whose families have “disappeared” in war-ravaged countries in Central America.

There is such a fine line between “feeling the feelings” and falling headlong into the pit of self-pity. I confess to not always knowing where that line is and yet, having lived so much of my life denying any and all feelings, having spent thousands on therapy over the years to help me access those feelings, it's a line I'm willing to play with. It's almost comical, certainly a cliche, but then again, knowing how repressed feelings can and do ravage persons, cultures, the globe, I’ll always, if I have a choice, err on the side of too much. Even if for a while, I go tripping and slipping down the proverbial slope.

Right now, the earth is waking up here in the middle of the Pacific. It’s by far my favorite time in the islands. It’s so fresh, it’s unbelievable. The trades blow a little more gently, pieces of clouds that pass by on their way back out to sea take on a beautiful, pale coral color, rays stretching from the sun that is rising on the other side of the island. The sky turns from silver to the baby-est of blues. Birds sing in their joyous stereophonic and just this moment a frog hops innocently past the lounge chair where I sit. It’s a slender slice of time, a moment really, between the dark of night and the new day, that is so still, so tender, it makes me want to weep.

And in this moment, truly, it is not lost on me how lucky I am, how remarkably fortunate. Green drink or no, for three incredible months I get to witness and be a part of these amazing and magical mornings. I get to feel the tropical winds on my skin, the sand beneath my feet, the sun shining on my soul and spirit. I am privileged to enjoy frogs, and wild turkeys and egrets at my back door (honestly, right up to the sliding screened door), darling little red-headed birds I'm seeing for the first time in my life and OH, last night, just as I was turning out the lights, I heard them... the barking deer I've been told about. That's right, the Axis Deer, that have a high-pitched bark, just like a dog. Some believe they're the most beautiful deer on earth. Elegantly spotted, beautifully racked. Originally from India, a gift to King Kamehameha a couple of hundred years ago. Out in the pitch black, barking. A little eerie, but in a cool kind of way.

The sun is up now. The day fully arrived. I've taken a couple of pictures of the view from my patio. I'm taking all shots on manual these days, figuring things out a little at a time. No "Program" or "Automatic" mode. And like the words when I first started this blog, I'm not posting only "perfect" pictures. My photography is a work in progress, as am I, as are we all. Enough said. Enjoy...

With aloha, from Moloka’i


  1. Hi Debby. You don't know me. My name is Lindsay Pugh. Your blog showed up on my google news alert because I have 'Molokai' as a keyword.
    I just came from there less than a week ago. My step-mom lives there and I was visiting for six weeks. I'm so jealous you have three months!
    I find it beautiful. It may be a little rough around the edges for some people but that is what makes it Molokai.
    I hope you explore the island and meet some good local folks.
    Take care

  2. Hi Lindsay

    Thank you so much for your comment. Yes, I do think that Molokai is going to grow on me. I feel it already. How wonderful that you have family here that you can visit. Yes, three months! I'm so happy it can be that long. I find myself relaxing, driving slower, etc., partly because that's Hawaii and partly because I have plenty of time and don't need to rush to do and see everything.

    Thanks again!
    Aloha... Debby

    p.s. I'd love to hear more... where does your step-mom live, what is your favorite thing or place here, etc.! Anything you'd like to share will be greatly appreciated.

  3. Hello Debby,
    Here are some places you may or may not have heard of:
    Dixie Maru is a great little spot to swim/snorkel on your side of the island;heading toward the East End, Mile 16 and Mile 20, for more snorkeling/swimming. Mile 16 is a bit more secluded; Mile 20 is bigger and more well-known.I also like walking around the Kalaupapa lookout and the Palaau park;I love the trees and the wind. Kualapuu Cookhouse is very good. Yes, the Aunties and artisans at the market. I like going to the two grocery stores, Misaki's and Friendly Market. There are a lot of little hidden culinary gems in both and are as much community meeting places as they are grocery stores. Read the message boards in Kaunakakai too.
    I was lucky enough to go paddling in the mornings on a six man Hawaiian canoe while I was there this summer. I really enjoyed it.


  4. What a fantastic way to spend your mornings. Wow. Lucky, indeed!

    Thanks for all the tips. I plant to check out all of them. I looked for Dixie Maru a couple of days ago and somehow missed it. I'm going to try again in a couple of days. Also the park at the lookout has just moved way up on the list on your recommendation.

    Thanks again. I hope you're adjusting to life back on the mainland...??? :)

    Aloha, Debby


I love that you've stopped by... thanks so much for taking the time to comment. I'll make every effort to visit your blog as soon as I can. Enjoy your day.