my version of Groundhog Day: 8/28/09

What is it- that feeling you feel when you step off an airplane to a place you haven’t seen for many months and you call home? Arriving home from an extended journey used to be so bittersweet for me and I suppose it still is: Maui No Ka Oi. Translated to Standard American English (SAE) from Hawaiian that’s Maui is the best. Translated from SAE to Hawaiian Creole English that’s Maui stay ono. (ono = delicious). Bittersweet because it is incredible; beautiful shades/textures of sandy beaches, streams, waterfalls, jungles, hiking and… and… beauty every step of the way. I have an incredible career here that keeps me stimulated within the scientific community. Great friends, endless outdoor activity: the intimacy of knowing a place, really knowing a place. Knowing that I can arrive back on isle without a place to live, without my car, without much money, still spaced out from an 11-hour journey by air back in time (6 hours back in time BTW), and just needing to chill out. That’s the sweet part. The so-termed bitter is that I know I need more. I always have. I have always had to travel for extended periods of time. To escape this fantasy island & experience the grittiness of another expression of life- a more common expression for most people. Seasons are so subtle here. Most can’t recognize but my body is tuned in to Maui’s frequency. The sky was light, vibrant blue with huge extremely dazzling white cottonball clouds marching like saints down the SE side of Haleakala’s slope into the sea and across to Kahoolawe Island looming in the distance as a once fading and now renaissance=like symbolic image of the steadfastness of the Hawaiian people stemming back to ancient times. A constant reminder of how things could still be… The sun was low on the horizon even though it was late afternoon. I could just tell, that’s all, that the last days of summer were already set into motion.

My heart sings. Pre-sunrise in the jungle: heavy rain downpours turning into lighter spasms of intermittent showers, the sudden cacophony of birds chirping- I can hear 4 separate songs as I type. My return to Maui has met all expectations indeed. A good friend, who took me under her wing and let me stay at her place until my new shack was available, greeted me at the airport. She drove me around and listened to my ranting about my time in NYC First thing post airport pick-up she carted me off to Baldwin Beach so I could jump in the water and we could walk the most beautiful stretch- well certainly the most meaningful stretch of beach for me as I have gone through so much on this beach. Every emotion possible has been encountered at this beach. My first impression was that summer storm damage eroded the sand away again this year down at the cove. Sighting the trees fallen onto the sand and buried in water since last season and now exposed w/their mossy green brilliance sagging off them as Dali’ clocks/images hung dreamlessly off objects within a Catalan landscape. With the late afternoon sun, the whitecaps on the seas in the distance creeping closer to the shoreline and a graveyard of fallen pine trees tossed along the shoreline like one’s dirty laundry at the foot of the washing machine, a lone fisherman casting his ulus pole from the waters edge, the lifequard on a sunset run for one last check over, Maui life was picturesque in that moment. As we walked the shoreline my toes found themselves strenuously crushing deeper into the sand, down to the moist, cool to touch coarse-grained granules that massaged my feet- who were so exposed to the entirety of NYC this summer and so graciously took me everywhere in those 5 boroughs and now they felt rejoiced, reinvigorated, regenerated.

We spoke of our summer highlights, lowlights, and the typical streamlining down the middle of the road everyday occurrences that carries us all through the largest chunks of our lives. She was on the high of starting a new job with another company- who I had once worked for. I listened & was genuinely happy for her. As well as she stimulated renewed interest in archaeology for myself as well. Now I was looking forward to returning to work come Monday. All those long, arduous hours spent under the sun that threatens to invade any exposed area of your body, all the sand spitting back at you in the dunes when the trades are blowing incessantly, the miles of thorny brush you have to hike through and hack away at w/machetes during surveys as well as all the resulting cuts & bruises- the hours of mapping sites- just all of the bounty that archaeology offers!

I relived NYC stories- all incredible moments experienced. School had empowered me to yet a higher degree. I can’t help it, I am one of ‘those’ people who has always enjoyed what academia can provide if you let it- or ‘get’ it more accurately- not just go through the motions of ‘going to school’ but really get off on the challenge of studying theories, and coming up with your own interpretations, and then can challenge prevailing theories- not to be right or wrong, but to succinctly state & support a hypothesis to be refuted, revised or simply revealed. I do love this regardless of if in school or not, but to just challenge myself continually and see what I can come up with- this drives me.

We both had tales of lost loves and new lovers. She always looking for love, or imagining love more so. Every encounter is an optimistic possibility. Myself, ever the scientist, I look at the picture as a whole and break it down into individual components immediately. So exciting to delve into the mysteries of love/lust through scientific knowledge- this is my high. I am hopeless as I know right off if time is going to be invested- real intimate time. I’ve never been one to ‘date’ casually. The anthropologist in me sees contact as something primal and instinctual & it should just be allowed to develop on its own course with as little interference/words as possible to disrupt the vibration that should be developing & most often drowned out by sounds & words that just add confusion. Of course this means that body language must be meaningful & truthful- not always the case. I watch cats and when meeting a cat for the first time… it either comes up to you or it doesn’t. You meet eyes and lock into each other. It is that initial encounter that explains a lot of how a cat thinks. It doesn’t necessarily need a pet, or want a pet from just anybody. It senses first. If it is a sudden introduction, well I guess I’m saying I’m a bit like this cat.

Ok sidetracked. Maui, like anywhere, has its pros/cons. Right now I am riding the wave high on the crest of the developing wave just before getting tubed. The elusive O. It’s a great state of mind. I’ve seen stars, rainbows, afternoon showers, sunrises, sunsets… I didn’t see any of these things in NYC except rain showers. My body sensed this disharmony & even though it was obscured by all there is offered up to do in that incredible city, by day and into the night, it is these essential elements that make my body sing.

My new shack & myself are introducing ‘ourselves’ to each other. It is like a living entity in that I need to become intimate with all my environments. I am starting to make it ‘mine’. I saw a moonbow last night inbetween squalls. I am looking out into thickets of bamboo and ferns & wild gingers & just too much to individually rattle off but the desired effect has been achieved- my mind is blown. All this lushness- there is a sensual beauty of being a solo witness to the rush of feeling a breeze walk through and reach out and touch your arm so the hairs briefly react to the touch, but there is also pleasure to be had experiencing this w/a lover and I’m thinking that is exactly what’s missing from this scene this fine Thursday morning as I prepare to get up & greet the day…