"And the stars are projectors, yeah, projecting our lives down to this planet Earth." - Modest Mouse


Back To The Grind 

Well, I'm back on the mainland and trying to wire into the hive mind again. It was an absolute joy spending an entire 10 days not thinking at all about the web or computers or work or current events. The biggest concern was deciding which wonderfully beautiful tropical beach to lay on, rising from the sand only to relieve the beating heat of the island sun, so heavy and full and so much closer like a looming balrog wearing a lei of coals and a Hawaiian shirt printed with fiery hibiscus and plumeria. We rose only to wade into the warm tropical waters, out into the clear azure tides, floating and bobbing in the rich saline broth. If one is at all open to life, one reaches a certain detachment from the gameworld at such times.

An interesting note about Hawaiian waters is that you come to know that the islands are really only very tiny little pebbles in a very huge and indifferent Pacific ocean. The currents at most beaches are fierce and unweilding and have no qualms about snatching unwitting tourists right from the shore and carrying them off to Tahiti or Fiji or points beyond & unknown. Indeed, over 60 such deaths occur each year and most are tourists. The only salvation is from the reefs which can offer partial shelter from the relentless onslaught of the wild, surging currents.

Waimea Bay

We stayed on the North Shore of Oahu, around the corner from Waimea Bay, mouth of the Waimea river and legendary home to some of the largest Winter surf in the world (we were just past the church tower you can see in the background of the above pic). The northern edge of the island is similar to Kauai receiving continuous rainfall throughout the year. As such the land is covered in gigantic and multitudinous flora - house plants we keep in California but irradiated to gianthood, stately trees leaping into the sky and spreading vast canopies, and banyans. The banyan trees deserve special mention here (perhaps I can dig up a picture...). Banyan trees look like a cross between a ficus and Akira. They are a ridiculous organic mess of liana-like branches, bifurcating endlessly and wrapping and writhing about each other like tweeked-out muscle fiber coursing with steroids, shooting from the ground up and outward. As their muscled arms extend out, runners drop down to seek the earth below. When they connect roots are sent out and a new trunk is formed. In this way a single banyan tree may send out hundreds of arms, each dropping tens of trunks which will root into the ground and form a new mass of tangled tree. What appears to be a forest might only be one tree.

Ah, here's a pic of a small banyan tree:

The original point of the above is that the North Shore gets a lot of rain. In fact, it poured the first 4 or 5 days we were there. Warm rain and 70 degree air temp so it's not so bad - really just an excuse to stay home and drink on the porch. One morning it cleared so my wife and I left for Waimea beach. We arrived and set up our towels and mats and such atop the 20+ foot pitch of sand dropping down to the shoreline, then got in the water. As often happens in Hawaii, the raging sun was suddenly obscured by clouds (this continued oscillation between direct sun and cloud creates a very soft natural stroboscope). However, this time the cloud was large and laden with fresh island water. The sky opened and dumped another sea's worth of liquid while we swam in the waves. It was an amazing effect to watch the surface of the sea exploding with raindrops, each falling drop bouncing back up in mirror image - it was like the sea was raining upward to the heavens. Exquisite. Not to mention that the water was warm, the air was warm, and the warm rain was just another contributor to another wonderful day in paradise.

So now I'm back, my cells still ebbing & flowing to the tropical ocean tides, skin tight & tanned and scoured by salt & sand, reminded again that jacking into the infosphere is not all there is to life by any small means. Mediated experience and data consumption is an intriguing adaptive trait and offers much potential for creativity but certainly pales next to the simple joy of watching the trees wave gently in the tropical breeze, toes in the warm soft sand & cool red earth, and nothing but the cadence of sea foam to remind one of time's slow passing.

Time's like these my thoughts drift off and wonder just what it ever was that made us come down from the trees in the first place...

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