Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Hawaii Time...and Time to Move On

Geckos noshing on bananas on the lanai

We leave the Big Island tomorrow, and there's that feeling again. The one that always accompanies moving on. A bittersweet heightened awareness of what we've been living, and what we're leaving behind--combined with excitement about what's to come. 

It feels like living in a tree house.

We've spent two months housesitting in Leilani Estates. The home, the neighborhood, the animals, the yard--it's now all so familiar. Homey. The little town, Pahoa, has become the place we go to for tasty, authentic Vietnamese food (at Pho 19) and coconut-based ice cream that just happens to be vegan (at Nicoco).

Jamie & Chris, the homeowners, bought all this beautiful food for us!

As slow travelers, we're always growing roots and then...uprooting. Eight years ago when we started living this way, I'd thought that launching out into the world was "leaving home." Now it seems we "leave home" over and over again.

Dutch and Billy

Home here means Duke, a big lug of love. And two funny cats, Billy and Bosco. It means hanging out in this beautiful space doing the usual: cooking, reading, yoga, laundry. Dave killed it with the yard work, buzzing around on the riding lawn mower, cleaning the pool, picking papayas and bananas. 

Dave in one section of the house's beautiful & vast yard

I was on shovel-the-poop duty (yes, this is a glamorous life), worked on my writing/editing and Spanish--and I met up with a group of neighborhood women for morning walks. 

We played for 3 hours!

Turned out, those women played ukuleles, so we had a jam session here on the lanai. We also met up with a number of friends. Seems like lots of people we know or had met online either lived here or happened to be passing through.

With Mayra & Carol...just a few weeks after hanging out with them in Utah!

The Puna area of Hawaii is a dramatic place of extremes. Three years ago, Kilauea erupted spilling lava over hundreds of homes--some just a block away. Steam from the vents still drifts to the sky. Sometimes we feel a sleepiness take over, the volcanic gasses acting on us like Oz's poppy field on Dorothy.

Lava flow over the road

We walked on the 2018 flow with Babette & Rich,
the couple we housesat for on this island two years ago.

Green-drenched rainforest butts up against a moonscape of black lava. You'll be walking in the sun then hear a roaring sound in the distance: it's rain approaching, and in minutes it's pouring buckets. The air will be still and warm one minute, and the next wind whips up, pulling fronds off the palms. Birds call out in beautiful, eerie whistles and song, and cane frogs in the dozens pop out onto the driveway every evening. At night the lullaby is a shrilling cricket-like chorus of coqui frogs.

While living in this eccentric land, we celebrated Dave's birthday, walking through the incredible Tropical Botanical Garden in Hilo and eating great vegan food at the Booch Bar. The kombucha on tap is divine.

We hiked on two volcanos (Kiluaua and Mauna Loa), walked across black sand beaches and through parks and into lava tubes, saw rainbows and waterfalls and lava trees, and took leisurely drives just to gaze at all the beauty. 

Cape Kumuhaki black sand beach...about a 4 mile hike.
We were the only ones there.

Hiking Muana Loa

Kaumana Caves

Kalakaua Park

Hiking Kilauea Iki

Rainbow Falls

Saturdays we enjoyed the Kalapana Farmer's Market for its relaxed, happy people and its great vegan food, serenaded by a guy on a guitar playing Hawaiian music. This is the spot of the famous Uncle Roberts, where we enjoyed live music one evening in the open-air venue. Hawaii had just relaxed its mask requirements that day. It was sweet to see everyone's smiling faces.

Kalapana rainbow

As usual, this housesit has been emblematic of our lives: explorers who are "home" wherever we happen to be. This house, by the way, used to be owned by the parents of Guenther Fraulob, Rock Hudson's lover. There are pictures of them here. They remind me as we get ready to leave that impermanence is life.