Thursday, October 10, 2013

Kona Chronicles: Part 2

The view from the house
Today I woke up at an entirely more civilized hour: 4am. Somehow that has a more humane ring than 3am, the time at which I awoke yesterday. I love the solitude of the morning, though, and today, there is a hush in the house, where the only sound is the whir of my ceiling fan.

The house at which I am staying is a coffee farm located at 1800 feet above sea level. It is probably 10-15 degrees cooler than Kailua and the views from above the town are magnificent. The house is nestled into the hillside, with an access road so steep it could qualify as a high level ski run should global warming ever cause a blizzard here. Sleeping, for the few hours I have managed to do so, is a different experience here, with perfect temperatures, utter darkness unmarred by streetlamps or other houses, and complete quiet.

When people come to Hawaii, they leave with souvenirs of coffee or chocolate covered macadamia nuts or ugly shirts that seem to fit in on the Island but never look right anywhere else. My special memento of the Big Island, one that stays with me long after the tan fades and I've slept off the jet lag, is a cold sore. In my dozen trips here, in spite of all my efforts and use of various lip tinctures, I start to feel the telltale tingle in my lip that signals it is going to erupt. This trip is no different and within 20 hours of my arrival on the Island, I started to feel sensitivity in my angry lower lip. That now precludes me from eating anything remotely spicy, lest it touch my lip causing me to scream and disrupt the other diners.

Yesterday was a busy day. I went to the pier to swim with Jen T, Jen C and Scott, three of the four athletes I coach who are competing here. It was so nice to see them and listen to them swap stories of qualifying and I could just feel their general excitement about the race.
Jen T and Me after the morning swim

The buzz at the pier was so familiar, even though so many of the faces were not. I had not swum in open water in three years, so yesterday's swim was particularly exhilarating. The clarity of the ocean meant that I felt like I was swimming in an aquarium. I was absolutely giddy with delight as I moved through the swim course, craning my neck to make sure I didn't collide with anyone. I even stopped to talk to one of the paddlers manning the course to share my enthusiasm.
I don't think Scott will mind that I stole this photo off his Facebook page. Or, will he?

One of the best parts of yesterday was running into old friends and acquaintances I had not seen in so many years. We have all added age to our faces, but we greeted each other with gusto and with genuine interest in what transpired over the last many years.

C'mon, you know I have to put up at least one sunset shot!
My trip here has been purposeful, fun, and in so many ways cathartic. As I sat on a friend's patio, admiring the sea view, the island whispered in my ear, "What took you so long?"


  1. It sounds fantastic there. Maybe one day I'll get. Strange that your cold sores only appear when you arrive there.

  2. You definitely need to get here! I get cold sores in extreme heat, in general.

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