My brain feels like a boiled egg. I could only sleep in about an hour. The sun has risen, but Hilo remains quiet and asleep. It’s a three day weekend, and the hard workers of the Big Island lay in their beds weighted by the consuming hours of past labors.
My stomach feels messy from all the pizza I ate yesterday, and that’s certainly the same reason my head is sloshing with low frequency pains. I wake up not feeling all that into myself. It comes and goes like the seasons, like the rains, like the planets circling nearby.
The Hilo rain this morning drifts in from the ocean in soft waves. I shuffle around the quiet of the house, make my coffee, and hang upside down on my roommate’s inversion table, trying to release the tension coiled around my spinal column. I contemplate what I’ll try and do today, trying to brush away impending thoughts to be present in the relaxing and restorative day off I have ahead. I just finished another enduring week of work with my summer gig: a team leader for a small group of up and coming young adults passionate about their homeland of Hawai’i. Each week we visit a different site of managed reserve land in which any various conservation project is being implemented through whatever funding has been allocated for that place.
We as a team have been working hard, and I’ve been given the great gift of total trust in leading this group of 17 and 18 year olds – an age in life I remember all too well. An age, in some ways, I myself am still afraid to let go of. That turning point. That severance. Excited to be my own person, but deathly afraid of what sacrifices must be made. Safety. Innocence. Comfort.
The rain thickens and drowns out any sounds of civilization from the city as the Hilo town begins to wake up. I dreamt of Mauna Kea last night and wanting its solitude, but all my waking life seemed to be up there with me.
The summer has come into its fullest and all seems busy with activity during these longer days. My family feels distant along the Pacific coast of North America, and I cringe with homesickness during these soft gentle mornings as I lay outside of their proximity. A normal routine of emotions spill in and I allow them to fill before flushing them back out.
The house cat comes bounding in with the heavy rain on her silky black fur. She cries outside my door and awaits my response, smelling the particles of dust and debris on the floor around my doorway. She stands at the threshold of my room, uncertain if she will enter, or let me be, licking and drying her dampened paws.
Next week I head out to the historical Kuamo’o Battlefield and burial grounds of Pili Kauwela in South Kona. A place of heavy energy I am told. A place with memories of the deaths of not only many people, but a whole philosophy and religion: the ʻAikapu system.
I do not know what next week will bring in its entirety for me or my team, but I anticipate the immersion into a place that will tell a story of an important lesson the struggles Hawaiʻi faced in knowing how to respond to the growing pressures of a Western, Euro-American influence.