Hawaii is Mother Nature’s candy shop. Its vistas are unparalleled. Orchids grow like dandelions and trees line the roads like a box of crayons. If the flowers don’t lure you in closer, the mysterious fruit and nut clusters will: wild berries, mangoes, bananas, coconuts, grouped in bundles, camouflaged in multicolored leaves. The blue of the ocean is the kind they call azure. The surprising warmth and softness (for ocean saltwater) are soothing to the skin. And the SAND! You could pay hundreds of dollars in skin treatments and still not feel powder under foot like this. The palm trees which have either been planted perfectly by nature or else a top-rate landscaper create so quintessential a background you’re convinced this is a movie set. (And duh, no wonder so many movies and TV shows film here.)
The trees which are not palm trees are either oversized Tim Burton-imagined bonsai trees or covered in white, pink or fuchsia plumeria or creamsicle-colored delicate blooms inspiring a Dr. Seuss fantasyland. Hawaii year-round looks like New York City’s botanical gardens do for about 3 weeks a year. Everything is in bloom ALL THE TIME. Even the dirt is red, rather than brown. The rocks are black and sharp, an eruptive volcano’s lava hit the ocean and formed the onyx coastline, rocky, ragged, full of hidden faces of animals and mysterious Hawaiian tikis. The complexity of the layered rock is beautiful. Sections darting above the ocean resembles black marble columns protruding beacons from beneath the blue. The second layer is more porous, they compare it to swiss cheese and the top layer is the fiercely jagged top, spiky sand castle tops ancient as an archeological find. On some heavily rocky beaches, natives use pieces of white coral to spell things out on top of the black slate. In Hawaii, even the street art is sustainable.
Everything tastes better on the island. I’ve had the best fish in the world there – the irony being it’s tasted least fishy. The papaya tastes like a perfumed bouquet; the strawberries taste like someone dialed the taste saturation all the way to strawberry blast. Their smell permeates the whole house. “These strawberries remind me of the ones from my childhood,” I say as I smell them – which is also ironic since I remember so little from my childhood.
When I inhale, the air is sweeter, cleansing, and healing. I tilt my head up to the Hawaiian sun to praise nature, grateful for my moment there. Grateful for the heat, the soft wind to balance, and the harmonious ocean. The world is so alive here; life beats everywhere. Dozens of butterflies loiter around a tree, tiny birds perch on fragile branches; there is no digital temptation here. Everything I want to see surrounds me.
I stare out from my beach. A sailboat passes by the crescent-shaped island where we snorkeled with 300 feet visibility in crystal clear water. We swam in the world’s aquarium, breathing arduously through a little straw poking through the sea. We marveled at fish the same size as our bodies and watched schools of shiny unnamable fish; there were eels in coral cracks and octopuses disguised within the secret caverns of the reef. The sun peeks through a cloud and illuminates the top of the volcano – majestic and magnificent. When I inhale, I do it deeply. I want my lungs to memorize this air. I want my gut to fill with all of this and forever have it in me. Oh, enchanting Hawaii, you have forever tattooed yourself on my heart and I will keep returning to refill my love.