Oahu folded me in so gently, earlier than most land. We awoke just before sunrise on our first day, so we threw on shoes and walked the 200 feet from our beds. The sand was cool and fine. The water, quiet and expectant. The light, unholy in its consummate beauty.
We attended a wedding, our main impetus for going to Hawaii. At the reception, Bowie made her debut as a dancing fool.
I do not listen to popular music, so you can imagine my surprise when the song 'Uptown funk-y up," (as she affectionately calls the Bruno Mars song) and screamed at me to remove her carefully arranged bun and threw her head around like the demons of dance had possessed her. I stood in awe of her for a short minute before I answered the call of those same demons myself.
A moment in time. I sat lounging under a short beach umbrella with Tim and Julie sunbathing on my left and Jess and Joel sharing a bottle of cheap rose on my right. Ben lying contentedly on the shore as the waves pushed sand up his shorts. Phoenix and Bowie playing separately together, lost in a world of sweet sand and sea.
One evening Jess and Joel went shopping for dinner and Ben and I stayed back at the house with the girls. We sat in the fake plastic Adirondack chairs as the stars and I were invited to romp around in Ben's playground of a mind. The gentle breeze cool enough to pull my sun dress over my knees, but warm enough to keep me from breaking the spell by fetching a sweater. We looked deep into the night sky and found Jupiter.
One tequila morning was spent chatting with the always scantily-clad Jess. She had asked Ben to please save her from toddler hell, so Ben and Joel took the girls down to the beach. We were out of Pinot Grigio and decided to polish off a bottle of tequila instead (did I mention it was morning?). It's not every relationship that can handle some of what I told her, but Jess isn't your everyday kind of gal.
I can still feel the warm water of the outdoor shower as I helped Phoenix de-sand herself. We lingered there, with her chubby arms held tightly around my neck, still unsure of the water.
Holding her while she learns to trust being held.
Another moment. Jess swam off in the distance, Joel sat on the shore, Bowie buried herself in the sand, Ben answered the call of a far off island and took a trek, Phoenix stood on the wet sand, yelling at her Mom to fucking take her back into the water.
I swam in utter solitude, surrounded by these people I've decided are everything..
No breaking waves, just a rock-a-bye undulation.
Green and turquoise and deep gray blue water, warm as the sand.
The liquid salt so fine you didn't notice it, but felt lighter, easier to love somehow.
I lifted my feet, laid back, and began to float.
I thought of the people and souls inside of me. The archetypes I contain, the multitudes Whitman spoke of in Leaves of Grass.
And I felt something gently swim away from my being. Something good and lovely, but that needed a break.
The absolute authoritarian reigning supreme inside of me: my judge, my skeptic. She was dethroned. She's so fucking beautiful and wise and vigilant and terrifying and damn strong, but she's tired.
I didn't even cast her off, there was no battle. She just wanted a break, she wanted to quick dip in some salty solitude. She mermaid-ed herself out of me, gently twisting with one easy ebb toward the shore.
But it wasn't permanent, because I'm learning that no part of me wants to be cut out. But, with the precious break, she came back to me having been bathed in solitude - that is, we reunited with a softer focus and a kinder lens.
It's what the island water gave me.
Lots more photos here: