Rain showers. The sound of thunder up on the mountain above our little town, nestled between ocean and volcano on a bed of lava. Thunder breaks and you know you have 20 minutes or so before the rains come tumbling down through the pearly haze, over the green sea of the mountainside. And then. Relief.
The scent of flowers, punctuating the hot green smell of island life. Flowers falling everywhere, off of trees, so common they are scraped off the sidewalk, raked up like fall leaves. Tucked behind little girl ponytails or in the sleek buns of business women dressed to the nines.
The baking hot afternoon sun, stepping out of the shade of the lanai, hurrying up the steps scattered everywhere on campus, torturingly so for pregnant women who have hurt their foot in the past week by - ironically - banging it against a volcanic rock, used as landscape walls everywhere, and then making it to the next shaded spot, a sigh of relief. Finally, retreating to the air-conditioned car to seek out respite in air-conditioned Target or Walmart or Macy's or anywhere. Hey kids, lets ALL go get toilet paper!
The salty caress of the sea. Everywhere in the air, so present, little miss says, when she has a day of feeling sick, that she must be sea sick, because the sea is everywhere here. A view, a glimpse of shimmering blue, early in the morning, then later in the day, as the haze creeps down the mountain, it becomes a silver streak, seen through every window, off of every porch, just a step away, and there it is.
The prickly heat, late at night, which causes one to discover the wonders of witch hazel, mixed with lavender oil, in a spray bottle, squirting backs arms and hot little tummies, kicking off sheets, lying in the relief of the fan.
Birds, chasing diving screaming pecking, everywhere. Outside my window as I type, perched in the palms a crow-like Myna bird. The tiny yellow saffron finch. The red-headed cardinal. Replacing our familiar robins and blue jays with these exotic looking specimens.
A sea turtle, bumping up against the rocks in the shallow reefs where we take the kids snorkeling. Little miss clinging to my leg, Baby Green chatting away, as the turtle flips around, poking its nose through tourist legs, trying to make its way back out to the peace of the open ocean.
Shells and bits of coral, washing up to shore, as we dare the beach wide open to the ocean, frantically holding hands to little bodies next to us, lest the riptide tear them away. The bits of treasure flung wide after storms ripped up the ocean last week.
The newness. The seeking of schedules, routine. Rising with the sun and then 6:45 breakfast, trudging down the hill for 8am coffee shop for school on the large patio, mama sipping an iced latte, the breeze coming in off the ocean. Then the air-conditioned campus library. Quiet now kids, do your math little man. Then 11:30 lunch at the campus cafeteria, scrape your leftovers into the slop bin for the pigs. A visit to the farm on campus where they teach sustainable agriculture and raise fish in aquaponic tanks that feed water to the lettuce plants growing in tubes. We gather passionfruit off the ground and marvel at the huge kale plants. Then quiet time, where mama might work and where more witch hazel spray is applied and then mama closes her eyes for a minute or two while kiddies play iPad, then we rouse for the park, where new little friendships are formed from kids around the world, and mamas gather and swat at flies and complain about the heat and then we all head up to dinner at exactly 4:30 and sit in the gathering shadows while the kids run and play after reluctantly swallowing two bites of chicken and some lettuce, gulping down ice water and feeling the cool of the evening breeze pick up off the ocean and then to the sweltering rooms for cold shows and more spray and books and then the sound of rain, as the night air finally cools and then, sleep.
And I miss coconut oil. And having a kitchen. And craft supplies. But the ocean is there, out the window, glinting faintly in the afternoon haze. And this is good.