Jay Meehan: A spring getaway to Hawaii after a long winter is fulfilling its purpose
From cresting Parley’s Summit at 32 degrees Fahrenheit the other morning with the precipitation level teetering on the cusp of sleet and both of us sporting long pants and, get this, shoes, we were suddenly astral-projected to the shorts and flip-flop zone of 82-and-partly-cloudy.
My son’s mission had as much to do with identifying a window in his work schedule into which he could fit both dear old dad and a long overdue visit with his Kauaian family. If it hasn’t been mentioned enough previously, he’s quite the doting son, nephew, cousin and uncle.
A north shore trek to scope out some post-monsoonal infrastructure damage coupled with our daily ration of fresh Mahi Mahi, Ahi, and/or Ono pretty much completely severed our ties to the winter latitudes, not to mention attitudes.
As one whose drive to play nice with the current political climate is lacking any real impetus, I needed more than ever to enclose myself in a cocoon of family and the mutual vibe that goes with it. Admittedly, this is not a clan Trump was able to drive a wedge through.
What that means is that minimalism plays subtle roles in our communiques, both visual and otherwise. A raised eyebrow has been known to speak volumes. A quizzical smirk can bring Tolstoy out of slumber and as far as Dostoevsky metaphors, don’t get me started.
As I sit typing this, Smokey is out on the deck busily restoring the 15-foot by 4-foot Koa table that has become a sacred relic to the family. Every few years since its initial fabrication by his late Uncle Billy, it finds itself in need of some “laying upon of hands.”
And there are none with more curative powers than Smokey’s. Birthday parties, graduations and annual holiday gatherings, not to mention evening sacramental services, have come to depend on them.
Then there is the air on the windward side of these isles. It has a weight to it. Not that it’s heavy or overbearing or anything. It’s just that you notice it in the island’s distribution cycle of “Aloha.”
Only last evening, it oozed from a beautiful young wahine’s eyes as she offered her “mahalo” for our patronage at one of our favorite local eateries. Psychology and respiratory systems being what they are, I barely made it back to the car in one piece.
Something about this place never gets old, and that includes my sister Mary Beth and brother McGee. They weather their personal storms and those of their adopted island homes with, seemingly, minimal effort.
My own mileposts on this magic isle reside always within easy reach. Our first visit contained the intriguing overlap of Mount St. Helens blowing its top and Magic Johnson leading the Lakers to an NBA title at the end of his rookie year.
There was our first hike off the mountaintop of Kokee down one of the fingerlike ridges of the NaPali coast to a turnaround vista just above the beach. Seven-year-old Smokey even encountered spiders who wore the same sized shirts.
This was coupled with a boating mishap not far beyond the breakwater at Kekaha’s intimate marina that left me black and blue and somewhat filleted. As he was about to jump ship, the Captain’s final words were: “Hey Brah, you sweem good, eh?”
A first of many idyllic days spent along the beach at Polihale with the native isle of Niihau just offshore as if you could reach out and grab it. And the misnomered “rip tides” along the same shoreline that, while body-surfing, would pull you down-beach much further than you would ever imagine.
We’ve got another week here on Kauai and, no doubt, it’ll fly by like a homesick albatross returning to its nest.
For now, the whales have up and headed for newer pastures. But the cooler-than-thou “Ne-Ne” geese are still strutting their stuff, and we still have Waimea Canyon and the Kalalau overlooks to look forward to.
Diversity-wise, Kauai has always reminded me of Utah, For such a relatively small geographic footprint, the attractions are endless (or as they say when inspecting water systems for bacteria, TNTC — “too numerous to count.”)
Spring getaways are, of course, most often constructed to moderate stress levels accrued during mountain winters. This one, although transpiring during a quite short timeframe, appears to be fulfilling its function quite nicely.
Jay Meehan is a culture junkie and has been an observer, participant, and chronicler of the Park City and Wasatch County social and political scenes for more than 40 years.
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