January 28, 2012
Yes it has been awhile.
Steve and his neighbors are out picking up tree limbs. There is devastation from ice and snow and wind everywhere. Last week, while the snow fell and ice covered trees breaking huge trunks and branches, froze pipes, left homes without power, Steve and I explored Kauai from the beach at Ke’e to Barking Sands. Purposefully, I unplugged from phones, computers, televisions, newspapers. I got lost in the pursuit of solitude and sun.
I have not looked at the weather for Kauai, but I am certain the sun is shining there today. The sand is pink speckled with miniscule bits of broken shells still sparkling from the receding tide, the dolphins are surfing the breaking waves, the shearwaters are diving for their daily meal, and a whale blows a plume--waves a pectoral fin, rolls over, then launches its massive body from the ocean, forms an arch and dives back in. If I listen hard enough I can hear a rooster crowing. A shama singing. I hear the doves wings flutter as a tanned old man with long gray hair, held back in a ponytail sits in the sand throwing breadcrumbs in the air.
Today I spent the day with Lisa and Annalise. Next Saturday is Annalise’s first birthday. She has two little teeth right in the middle of her lower gums. Her laughter opens doors in my heart that would rather stay closed. Love is risk.
When Annalise polks her pudgy index finger in my mouth, I nibble it with my front teeth. She giggles, pulls her finger back, puts it in my mouth again. Then she teases me, holds her finger out, makes me come after it. I let out a little growl. Annalise laughs with all her being.
Love is really all there is.
It is worth the risk.
In the end, it is all we can take with us.
Last Monday night, my last night on Kauai, I slipped between cool sheets wearing nothing but Fig Leaf and Cassis lotion. Outside, there was a breeze blowing towards the northwest--towards home. It rattled the wood blinds as it entered the room. Finding Steve and I curled up together, the breeze traveled the hills and valleys of our bodies.
Back to back, I aligned by spine against Steve’s, pressed into the warmth of his sleeping body. He did not stir. I closed my eyes, let the sound of the outgoing tide, the eerie moan of the wedgetailed sheerwater escort me to the realm of sleep.
Tuesday morning, 6 a.m. my alarm went off for the first time in 10 days. At noon, Alaska Airlines Flight 852 would speed down the runway, lift in flight, travel the jet stream pushed to Sea-Tac by strong tailwinds. After I hit the snooze button, buying five more minutes, I thought, “I could leave everything for this moment.”
The alarm rang again. Steve stirred, rolled over, pressed his stomach into my back, tucked his knees in behind mine.
“Mmmmmm.” He said.
I felt delicious, ripe from seven full days of sunshine. I let out a small moan of pleasure as Steve ran his open palm over the rise of my hip.
“You have no jammies on.”
“Mmmmmm.” I answered.
“Let’s go for a walk on the beach.” Steve whispered as he nuzzled his nose behind my left ear.
“Perfect.” Because on this last morning, while the winter sun was still working its way over the southeast horizon 22 degrees from the Tropic of Cancer, a walk on the beach would be. Perfect.
I wrapped myself in a pareo, dark blue with yellow flowers blooming on one edge. I tied two ends criss-crossed around my neck, making it into a dress.
Hand in hand we quietly left the little cottage at the beach. It was still dark, in front of us the planet Mars was the brightest light in the western sky leading to the place where vegetation stopped, beach began. Right over us was Saturn with its pronounced and visible rings. Just off to the side was the star Spica.
Saturn and Spica. USS Saturn and USS Spica. I have t-shirts, baseball caps, from those two ships you served on as an able bodied seawoman.
We stopped at the picnic table, the last point before beach. Facing the island Ni’hua, the channel where humpback whales spend winter days, where dolphins wait for the tide to change to feed in breaking waves, I turned my face toward Mars, navigated to your planet Saturn, star Spica, breathed deep.
The wind tugged at the corners of my makeshift pareo dress. Steve, behind me, encircled me in his arms.
The ocean rises with a single tear.
Crying dissolves unseen parts of me. I taste the salt of ocean spray as it falls from my eyes, making its way to waves broken at the steep drop before shore, still moving across a polished sandy beach until worn out.
Yesterday I saw my tears pass through a humpback whale that waved a pectoral fin, then blew a plume of water.
Humbly, bare, beneath a piece of cloth tied with one knot behind my neck, I invoked a blessing from sky, ocean, sand. From who ever, what ever, might be listening.
I turned to Steve. Stood face to face with him under a sky still dark enough for stars and planets to show themselves as tiny specks of light. Pulling apart the front of my makeshift dress, I exposed my most vulnerable self .
My breasts that fed you, my belly that carried you, the passage to your birth.
I am safe in a way I have never been with anyone.
Steve pulled me close. Burying my face in his neck, he and I danced together as the sun rose over his left shoulder.
The stars and planets disappeared.
I accepted my blessing.
To know, to feel love, is worth the risk.
Love you Andie—