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Friday, April 15, 2011

Waiting for My Turn

I'm sitting on my balcony in the moonlight (and the light of my laptop), enjoying a cool breath of air, a cool drink of water, listening to lusty frogs in the stream honking at one another, a white noise of chirping insects, and the occasional restless song bird. Someone just came running through the parking lot below. (Who runs at 2:30 in the morning? Who writes blog posts at 2:30 in the morning? I have a friend who would make a haiku out of all this.)

I'm wondering where the kolea are right now. I really don't know where they sleep, these busy bug eating birds with their long legs and strong wings. Every day they are looking plumper, more vivid in their new feathers. Usually they are diligently picking through the grass like rice farmers, or monitoring the traffic on the road, but lately they look like they are gathering in a lobby, waiting for an announcement: "Kolea Air Flight 411 to Alaska is now open for boarding." They are ready with their round-trip tickets for a four-month holiday of breeding and family fun.

By the time they actually leave, I will be just days away from my own trip, not exactly a vacation, not exactly like a return home, but like the kolea's, a sort of pilgrimage of renewal. My China plans are firm, unaffected in the end by the Japan disaster. I have no anxieties about any of it, I'm just awake in the middle of the night, roused by a peculiar dream brought on, I suppose, by an emotional movie, the weather with its haze and humidity, and a little indigestion. It's always best to just get up and let the feelings subside, not wondering too much about whether I was the Baroness dreaming I was escaping from a house in danger, or if I am dreaming now that I am the Baroness blogging on my lanai. Do the kolea dream?

The moon is flirting with me from behind fast moving clouds. The kona weather from the south has everything running a little backward. All the planes at the airport are taking off from the opposite direction on the reef runway; my new office, still annoyingly fragrant with the smell of gallons of fresh latex paint, does feature an exquisite view of the airport and the harbor area. Twelve hours ago, I watched several big-old-jet-airliners gather at the end of the runway like patient kolea, politely (safely) waiting until one of their own kind made a landing, the scene framed by two huge cargo ships lying just off the reef. Later two F-18s made sudden, shocking, nearly simultaneous takeoffs, showing off their speed and climbing capabilities in a now-you-see-us-now-you-don't exercise. Helicopters and small planes flitted about like mosquitos and flies. I could watch this activity for hours, the mountains on one horizon, the sea on the other. I wait like the kolea for my turn to take off.

Postscript: The first rooster is calling, at 3:39 a.m., to the frogs. Perhaps it's time to go back to bed! And, my laptop is at 61% of battery power. The universe is speaking to me. Good night, and good luck.


The Rambling Taoist said...

I've written many a blog post at 2:30 am! Of course, bedtime for me is between 3 - 5 am.

baroness radon said...

@RT-Yeah, actually I was thinking of you rhetorically when I wrote that. Funny to go to be with the rooster's morning call.

baroness radon said...

@RT -- And of course, I read your latest update at the same time.

Brandon said...

Those kolea are pretty cool, look like sand pipers. Same family, I assume (I'm a bit of a birder).

By the way, what is the significance of the 61?

baroness radon said...

Sand pipers are really beach/shore birds, but the kolea, Pacific Golden Plovers, are more inland, they inhabit grassy areas. They look similar to the sand pipers, long legs, long beaks, but have different habitats. Some people here call them "graveyard birds" because they turn up in grassy cemeteries. We have some interesting shore birds here, e.g., the endangered Hawaiian stilts, but they are different. I am--and many Hawaii people are -- intrigued by their precise migratory habits. Actually when they get to Alaska I think they do inhabit watery shore areas, like folks from the mountains who go to the beach in the summer. I am obsessed with them. I actually talk to them. They are very territorial; the kolea you see in your yard this year is likely the same one you saw last year and next. They live a long time. I love birds.

Hawaii is a very spiritual place..the local culture is very connected to the " 'aina", the land.

Re: year past 60 (the Chinese life cycle); Highway 61, which is why my car (and blogs) is TAO 61, I am a big Bob Dylan fan, Highway 61 was the North-South route which the blues traveled on; and the TTC verse 61 about the "female overcoming the male." (No particular offense, but I have somewhat feminist/yin leanings.) Last year when I left China, I passed though gate 61 at Narita. Just a meaningful number to me.