Sunday, August 2, 2009

Turtle Town

Welcome Aboard
click on photos to enter them An old scene re-enacted off Waikiki

"The Brain

is wider than the Sky

For put them side by side

The one the other will contain

With ease and


beside —

"I don't need hands to bless you."

"The Brain is deeper than the sea

For hold them
Blue to Blue
The one the other will absorb
As Sponges
do —

Mom & Boy going to da zoo.

The Brain is just the weight of God
Heft them
Pound for Pound
And they will differ
if they do
As Syllable from Sound "
Emily Dickinson

Portholes are tiny things really, so when I leave this keyboard, straighten out my back, and go out on deck, the Waikiki skies are like the sudden rush of a strange and wonderful intoxication. Look! I'm in Hawaii!
So it felt special as usual when I left my desk and got in my kayak to paddle through the gathering dusk again last evening.

I like the way that droplets of water dripping from my raised paddle ruffle the calm, if swelling surface inside the harbor. I paddle past moored boats, twigs and flotsam; the occasional branch gliding like a baby sea dragon. Passing the Hawaii Yacht Club I could see friends having a Friday Pau Hana (after work/happy hour) libation as the retiree band set up. Across the channel, the Family Festival occupied Magic Island with turning amusements, scented smoke of carnival cooking, and the sounds of the world's greatest municipal band: The Royal Hawaiian Band (which played for royalty and dignitaries in an earlier rendition of our Hawaii). They were playing pop stuff, big band, and the channel hosted pleasure boats to-ing & fro-ing. I like when outrigger canoes paddled by 8 or so strapping guys go by. I can smell their healthy manhood and a tinge of sizzle passes across the water level. Suddenly I am in Hawaii of times immemorial. . .

The outriggers paddled by wahine (women) inspire me in a different way, but inspire me nevertheless. I can hear the steersman calling for a change. "Hup" Did you hear that?

I was just enjoying the present.

Magically I understood again how special it was to see a sea turtle on my first paddle in over a year. That was weeks ago. Suddenly I knew that since I had "registered" the specialness of the occurrence, I was now free to see turtles as a daily commonplace.

Out beyond the last jumbled rock jetty where the fishermen play, is a stretch of shallow protected water. The wave breaks and surfers are still further out, and it is too shallow for boats, so it is a special, Caribbean-y space for kayakers, stand-up paddlers, and one-person outrigger canoes.

Out there, I put my double ended paddle across my knees and turned to look at the mountains of Oahu wreathed with weather, clouds and light behind me. I saluted Diamond Head at the other end of Waikiki wreathed in sunset technicolor clouds and legends.

Just me alone with the sky, the sea and the sound of my own heart beating - or is that the surf pounding?

I liked resting on the churning bosoms of mama ocean as they heaved and gently rocked me this way and that. This is where I saw that welcome back turtle feeding in the early evening shallows.
Suddenly I knew that they were there.

I watched each capricious little wavelet that raised it's hand. I was looking for turtle heads to break the surface and take a breath. To experience flowing lava is not merely to see it, but to smell the sulfur and to feel the heat. Seeing sea turtles is not just seeing them, not even their brown sentient eye gazing across the wavelets at you. No, experiencing turtles fully is to have them surface near by enough to hear their ancient breath of fresh air.

Then you know that someone else is near, making that sound older than Chant & Hula in these islands.

There they were, lazing near the surface, floating in the currents as I was. Bobbing for food, and raising their heads to breathe and look around. Carefully I prevented the paddle from drumming against the kayak. I just floated and looked.

Then stealthily I paddled closer. Close enough to see dark shapes gliding just beneath the surface.

"I love you. I honor you. I appreciate you." I thought loudly as I enjoyed the ocean evening cathedral with my fellow congregants. Western clouds and Waianae mountains glowed like instructive and beautiful stained glass. The sea and land poured brackish incense into the nave that steepled my little boat-pew.

Sailboats, powerboats, paddlers and surfers played beyond the reef. But the turtles and I were alone in a sepulcher of solitude. Time stopped pre-historically.

Then one swam right by and under me at arms length. I could see the patent leather patterns on her dear head, and the graceful flip of her flippers (more graceful than my paddle). I breathlessly admired the jade of her shell and vaguely Asian olive brown eyes. I could swear she looked right at me.

This is turtle city; and I can come out here every day!

Isn't life wondrous....when you allow yourself to drift into the Comfort Spiral?

I'm glad that Y O U came along with me today.
Mind your step as you clamber back on solid land......
Oh, and "Ding" sends you her turtle love.
A L O H A ! Cloudia