Smeagol is Free!
A hermitudinal view of...stuff...


Missing Kewalo's

I was sitting in the Student Life office on Friday, waiting to leave for the Spring Retreat. After doing the standard Facebook poking, blogging, and e-mail checking, I went to check on the local newspapers at home. The Star Bulletin had a link that I clicked on, something about local photography. What came up was an image that made me instantaneously homesick, and horribly so. The photograph showed a little boy at Kewalo's, walking on the short pillars just in front of the wall. I clicked on the high-res link and proceeded to stare at it in a deeply distracted, melancholy longing.

Pablo came in, Sweet Tea came in, and neither of them came anywhere close to understanding why I was staring at a picture of the ocean. Little did they know that I was naming the breaks in my mind, thinking about the hundreds of times I've paddled out through those channels or just sat on the wall in quiet contemplation. It was almost like some complete stranger coming up to me on the street and showing me a picture of the neighborhood I grew up in; I didn't expect it, but as soon as I saw it, all the dormant memories of Kewalo's came flooding back to the forefront of my thoughts and emotions.

Sunset after sunset played through my mind, much like sunlight plays through the shallow ocean water and dances upon the sand and reef below. Even more beautiful than seeing the sun from the water at Kewalo's was seeing the sun from under the water at Kewalo's. The sound of the waves crashing, both onto the rocks in front of the wall and all around me in the ever-closing hollow of a tube: they echoed in my mind. I could almost feel the tingly warmth of the sun as I would dry off after a long session in the water, or even the prickly cold of a first duck-dive under the water during the long paddle out. Then there's the smell of the flowers gently and soothingly intermingled with the smell of salty ocean air: it's one of those things that stays the same, even if I don't. Of course, how could I ever forget the taste? It was inevitable that some ocean water would go down my esophagus, ingested through either my nostrils or my mouth. Some days it seemed I swallowed so much salt water that the back of my throat was scratched raw; I'd give a lot to have that scratched-up and raw feeling right now.

But most of all is the knowledge that Kewalo's was, as much as it could possibly be, mine...ours. I knew what the channels, currents, and tides were like. We all did; still do. More than that, though, was the overwhelming feeling that it knew us, because we belonged.

There's a lot I could tell you about that small strip of land and ocean on the South Shore. To do so almost always makes me happy. But for a brief moment of time last Friday, I didn't want to say a thing about it; that's how much it hurt.

posted by Bolo | 2:04 AM
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