Sunday, September 27, 2009

Perspective II

It’s strange how perspective can change, sometimes minute by minute. There are moments here where I wonder how I can possibly stay for another two months. There’s absolutely nothing to do. (I know, I know, it’s not about doing, didn’t I just write about that…??) I keep photographing the same things over and over because that’s pretty much all there is to photograph. I sit on the same bench overlooking the same ocean day in and day out. Though that has proven to be as changeable as my perspective—one minute calm, the next so thunderous it’s almost frightening, with bombs of water exploding off rocks, and sometimes, surprisingly, right in the middle of a curling wave. There’s only one road, and it’s long and hot and dusty, one way leading the 20 plus miles into “town,” and the other ending about ten miles from here at Dixie Maru Beach, a tiny cove, with the only “calm” swimming water on the west end—and that depends on the day. There’s not even a good place to take a nice long walk—the sand on the beaches here hard to walk on—which leaves the road (long, hot, dusty, remember?), or the dead golf course. I’ve done the golf course a few times, but it is what it is… dead grass and weeds with the occasional palm tree and sand trap. Though the views are absolutely stunning.

Oh, and did I mention the mosquitoes? Averaging about two bites a day, I figure the total, for time spent here, will be roughly around 166. One hundred and sixty-six big, fat, itchy welts, including the two on my—uh-hem—rear end, which means they had to have bitten through not one but two layers of clothing. I won’t even mention the ants, or the roaches, that seem, like time-travelers (yes, I’m reading the book) to appear out of nowhere to be sitting right along side me. Or the fact that I can’t go into town for “milk and bread” without dropping an easy hundred; how the disappointment at the way the condo was misrepresented vis-à-vis the beach/ocean proximity comes alongside to visit once again.

And then, of course, there are the other moments. The ones where I nearly panic at the speed at which the time here is slipping away. Moments in which I can’t imagine not waking each and every day to watch the sky turn from black to silver to baby blue, and hear the sound of those wonderful birds that I’ve still yet to identify; where each time the sun sinks west toward the horizon, it is new and exciting and as unique as a thumbprint, and carries with it the potential of color, design, awe, and such extraordinary mystery. Where I love the sound of deer barking in the dead of night, where another rainbow might be just a cloud away, where “apple bananas” are maybe the biggest surprise, and along with papaya make the most heavenly smoothie; where every day I can visit the ocean, swim laps in a warm pool, watch the clouds move in and out, and listen to Hawaiian music radio (heaven, right there). Where “strangers” kiss me good morning and bring me bags filled with papaya and banana, fresh off the trees. Where I don’t feel fat and old and tired and washed up, where I don’t worry, where I am no longer grieving the past, where I actually feel younger, and where the future is wide open ahead of me, and ripe with possibility.

Of course, it’s those moments that I adore. Not the ones where I panic at the passage of days, but where I am open and alive and fully in touch with the wonder I am surrounded by. The days where the cup is not just half full, but filled so full it overflows. Where somehow, through some sort of grace, there is magic instead of boredom, magnificence rather than disappointment, beauty even in the dead, dying, decaying. I covet those days, and want to grasp them and mold them into some sort of container I can jump into, a second skin I can put on and wear, a pill I can swallow that will make it so every moment of every day.

Here’s the question that’s dogged me lately: how much of our experience of and reaction to things, to life, to each moment, is a choice, and within our control? It’s a huge question, I know. Bigger than the humongous waves that exploded so gloriously ashore here in the last couple of days. And it’s deep and rich and multi-layered. But just this morning, when I took a break from writing and took myself to the beach, I got a partial answer when I realized that I could only run out of things to photograph if I insisted on seeing everything from the same perspective, the same bench, if you will… So I got up, snapped a different lens on my camera, and took a walk, seeing newly and for the first time what has been right before me the whole while.

I made a choice. And yet, it seemed to me that it wasn't a choice until the moment when that particular light dawned. And even then, I'm not sure that "choice" quite describes it. I simply did it. Or, it simply happened.

And it’s the great thing about questions. If we pay attention, we might just live ourselves right into the answers.

Here are some of the pictures I took~
(click on any picture to make it bigger)

The real voyage of discovery lies not in seeking new landscapes but in seeing with new eyes. — Marcel Proust


Aloha Nui, from Moloka’i

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