"I dream of a hard and brutal mysticism in which the naked self merges with the nonhuman world and somehow survives...Paradox and bedrock."-Edward Abbey

02 February 2016

Notes from Camp 1 II; Meditations

Because who doesn't have Mozart as their jam when being all contemplative like?

Mauna Loa. There are holes where I live, and, some of them belch steam in the winter. Difference being this wasn't dug by Cornish miners looking for silver and we don't tend to get lava flows up here...

What for my heresy, my initial reaction to the spirit that pervaded the island. There's a story in it...

Some local wildlife...

The vibe here is different. That much is unmistakable. Me being me, someone who dissects, looking for answers, tries to discern the difference.

I live in a paradise. A place where people come to vacation. So, I wonder if it's a simple matter of traveler versus local. Or perhaps tropical island verses mountains. I am never completely sure.

Like where I live, this place something of the poor relations of the posher resorts. Both places are a little behind the population in terms of infrastructure. Sabina's brother in law-does that make him my second brother in law or great brother in law twice removed?- sometimes says Hawaii the way I'll say mountains.

There's a little more of the woo-woo love and light new ageness than I even pretend to tolerate as a steady diet. Everywhere are signs speaking of the spirit of aloha or drive with aloha. It didn't take long for me to get a little caustic about it. Must have been the jet lag.

"The fuck?" I snarled. "The spirit of 'hello'?"

"It's a little more than that, you know," Sabina said.

"Well, it also means 'goodbye'. Goodbye, hello, hello, goodbye," I said. "John and Paul had something to say about that, and I don't mean the biblical prophets."

"So why didn't they call that song Aloha?" Sabina's nephew, who was with us at the time, inquired.

I might have been taking a huge gulp of water from my bottle when he said that. That water may have almost come up through my nose and any other openings upon my head, given my reaction. I might have deserved that, but I do not believe in the concept of deserve.


Almost immediately, I fell out of time. Attuned myself to the rising and the setting of the sun. Like legendary zen masters, sleeping when tired, eating when hungry, and getting up upon waking, instead of just laying there.

There is the notion of the story and there is the way the story goes. One would think I know that fact like the direction the sun rises and sets; the preconceived versus the actuality. Yet, I have sometimes found myself suckered by the baited trap.

In my skull, half the trip had been written out. The gypsy once told me characters do not always do what you want them to. It was one of the first lessons I found myself relearning on the island. I once more learned to let go.

I meditated upon Africa. From the tropical jungles and rugged savannas of my childhood zoological curiosities, to the Moroccan mountains and deserts of adult wonderings. I used to say the stories all began in Africa. From the standpoint of the human animal, I am fairly correct.

I meditated upon Tibet. A place made more mystical by ancient travelogues, despite the fact of its rocky loneliness. Once I threatened to move there and grow a beard. Many years later, after reading some of those travelogues and their accompanying deconstructions I found myself feeling like a poseur suckered by a passing fad.

The mountains happened at an interesting time in our lives. There we were in a budding relationship sloughing the tattered skins of previous social dynamics and searching for something of a cosmic reset, perhaps. Kashmir happens, I can imagine the gypsy saying. It makes me wonder if we'd gone to the Arizonan desert or to the island instead of to the Colorado High Country that one day in late May what might have crystallized within our skulls.

There I go; Kashmir, deconstructed. Me dissecting, cracking open a shell and poking at what lies beneath to watch it squirm and acquire my answers. I can remember Pagan acquaintances being driven nuts by that...quirk...of mine. Then again, they were more into that love and light, and I appreciate chaos and the unyielding forces of nature too much to swallow that.

Contrary to what you might think, such analysis does not demystify a concept for me. Far from it, actually. In some ways, it just deepens the mystery. Making it so much more profound.


Days into our trip, Sabina's father asked me what I thought of the island. I wondered if he knew of my misgivings when the trip was first suggested. How I was a little reluctant to go. If he had caught me fresh off the plane, he may have heard a diatribe of  displeasure sponsored by the letter fuck, but it was days later and I'd had time to decompress. I offered him a wry smile.

"I am intrigued."

It is funky-gotta have that funk!-and interesting enough to invite further exploration. By the end of the first day, I knew I'd be back. There were things I would not see. Experiences I've yet to have.

Like the mountains, I felt drawn in. Not to the point of dismantling years of living in a place and full time moving, as I did on that fateful mountain afternoon, but something that definitely piqued my curiosity. It is as though there is something on the island for us, sort of like up in the mountains. Like the mountains, it may take years to truly find the shape of it.

Sabina asked if I could even envision being a part time islander. More likely. Here and now, I am not sure I could cope without distinct seasons, and I'd miss snowshoeing. My answer was during March and April; the height of mud. That time when the snow is too crappy for snowshoeing, but too deep for hiking, the resorts are closing down for the winter and not ready for summer and people are snarly because of seasonal burnout. There would still be whales and trade winds on the island then.

Like the initial trip, I know we'd be fools to pass up the opportunity. The full demonic details just need to be worked out. This is something I do not worry about. There is time and my patience is formidable. We figured out the mountains, we'll figure out this. As has happened a bit throughout the course of my life. The last time I saw my sister, as we discussed one of the happenstances in my life she said it must have happened organically, which I took as a tarted-up way of me saying it just kinda happened.

I may not be love and light, and I might dissect things past the marrow because I do not believe in fate, but I do know that...

Somewhere I shall further explore...


  1. Were you near any of the places where the lava is expanding it's territory? That would be the downside I'd think.
    My next door neighbors just moved there, they're retired for some time, and plan on going back and forth with the seasons.
    Enjoying reading about your travels, keep it up.

    1. Pahoa was endangered by a lava flow in 2014. It destroyed one house and closed off one road before that tube collapsed. There was an independent documentary Sabina's parents picked up about it at the tattoo shop where we got inked.

      The only difference I've heard between July and January is there's more rain in January-we lucked out and it only did so at night during the trip-and the trade winds don't blow during July. Sabina's parents will be coming back to Fort Collins around late April and staying until early October. Her father is a fan of eighty degrees or warmer.

      Thank you for reading! I have two more installments coming in the next few days.