Feet In Your Shoes

NeNe, my swimming buddy, waves from the boat ramp and I wave back from just inside the breakwater. Where’s George? I wonder, and swim to join my friend.

I almost didn’t come. NeNe didn’t answer her phone this morning, and it was pouring rain. But when she called back, said she was running late and let’s go! I bolted for the door.

And got here a few minutes early, so I watched the surfers out in Pohoiki Bay, their boards pointed out to the deep purple-blue sea, waiting for a wave.  The right wave.

Today I’ve lived in Hawaii one year. Off grid, on catchment water. I’ve learned a lot. Water is incredibly precious.


Modern culture uses a lot of electricity – most everything is plugged in. I’ve learned that propane refrigerators need defrosting.


I’ve learned that lava flows can just stop. And that hot flashes are real and debilitating. My generation of Boomer women is still a bit radical, but I’ve learned that the younger Millennial generation has a large contingent of counterculture souls, aching to live a bit more in sync with nature.

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The Bearded One and I have seen whales, wild pigs, owls and countless rainbows.

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We have a whole new concept of what “hard rain” is. We have hosted family and friends.


But the best, for me, continues to be swimming in the ocean. The water is alive.

NeNe pulls her long, thick, white hair into a ponytail.

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A surfer, a white guy about our age who I don’t recognize, slides his board into the water near me as I float in the shallow water off of the ramp.  “Where’s George?” I say.

“In the car!”

The surfer looks at me and I briefly explain George is a wonderful dog, a huge black AKC champion Bouvier des Flandres who is also sometimes a pain, not listening to NeNe and wandering off and eating garbage.

“He was being a poop, so I left him there,” says NeNe, splashing into the water next to me.

“Good for you,” I say.

“I get to decide,” she says, looking as tough as she can.

“Yes, you do,” I say, and then I stand up in the water and begin to recite:

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“You have brains in your head.  You have feet in your shoes.  You can steer yourself any direction you choose.”

The surfer looks at me, eyes wide.

“You’re on your own.  And you know what you know.  And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go!”

“Did you just make that up?!” says the surfer.

“It’s Dr. Seuss!” I say and smile big.

“AH!” says the surfer. “He’s a god.”

And with that, NeNe and I head back out into the waves.

25 responses to “Feet In Your Shoes

  1. Good on ya. I had to settle for kama’aina grindz in Everett. But it was still good, served with aloha.

  2. That sounds so lovely, floating in the sea reciting Dr Seuss 🙂

  3. Christine Widman

    Dr. Suess IS a god! I just laughed when I read that – picturing you reciting his words of wisdom. My kids and my grandkids asked for Dr Suess to be read over and over….Green Eggs and Ham…Horton Hatches an Egg (“I meant what I said and I said what I meant! An elephant’s faithful 100%”.)…King Looie Katz (“He did a far far braver thing. He simply yelled, ‘I QUIT!'”)
    In the desert I too have learned how precious water is. It is becoming the defining aspect for the world’s survival I think.
    And also HARD rain….we have monsoons – you have tropical downpours.
    Connections across the planet…hopefully connections that will bring our world together in solving problems.
    “Think left & think right & think low & think high. Oh the things you can think if only you try.”
    PS The Bearded One’s drawings are right up there for me with Dr Suess!

    • Aloha Christine. I didn’t read a lot of Dr. Seuss to our kids, oddly enough. But now with our first grandbaby on the way, I’m memorizing him! Actually, it was my sister who sent that Dr. Seuss poem to me in response to the photo of all the shoes on our lanai. Thank you, Leslie! 🙂 And I loved it and memorized it. And now I’m going to check those books out at the library. Hugs back across the deep purple-blue sea! xo

  4. Christi, thank you for a nostalgic, poetic recap of one year.

  5. I can feel the “YOU” radiating out from this post Ms Christi. Moving to Hawaii made you blossom. You no longer need to pull words out of yourself to justify who and what you are, you can channel the words of masters like Dr Seuss and know that their fundamental truths are part of us all. Hawaii is obviously a magic place. I fall a little more in love with it every post that I read. Big hugs to the B.O. does he still have his beard? Stevie-boy sends hugs and says that “did you know that you can take a can of kidney beans that you are using the beans out of to make chilli and use the liquid that you drain off to whip up like egg white?” Well you can! We made it into meringues and all is right with the non egg producing, moulting chooks on Serendipity Farm. I feel we are all going through a transition this year and life epiphany’s abound. Love to you both living your Thor Heyerdahl life out there in tropical paradise. You made it! 🙂

    • Thank you so much for this comment, Fran. I have changed this year, and hope I can “channel the words of masters” as you say, and not try to prove or earn anything. I posted Naomi Shihab Nye’s wonderful poem “So Much Happiness” http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/index.php?date=2001/10/01 on Facebook and love that you shared it. We are soul sisters. May you and Steve transition together blissfully! Thor Heyerdahl? I looked him up — I think I’ve seen him around, maybe in Pahoa checking out the lava. 🙂 And yes, B.O. still has his beard. The once time he shaved it since we’ve been married (18 years in May), Annie freaked out, said he looked naked, and begged him to never shave it off again. xo

      • Lol on the B.O. minus his beard ;). I adored that poem. It spoke to my soul. Only the night before when I was going to bed I said to Steve “sometimes I feel SO guilty to be so happy” and the next morning I got that beautiful poem. I guess being really happy comes from deep inside you and from being deeply content with who and what and where you are. I love me, I love this place and I love my life, right here, right now. I guess that’s all that really matters sometimes. So glad you found your happy place Ms Christi 🙂

  6. You’ve had hurricanes, earthquakes, volcano eruptions with lava flows, torrential rains, tree-bending winds- and you are still there! Hurray for you! Can you believe that our girls are going thru this new chapter now together?! Prayers for both of them every day, every minute. Love, Maria

  7. A year already! I can’t believe it!! What a lot has happened for so many Villagsrs . . .

    I love Dr. Seuss, too, and had a vision of you in the sea sharing his wisdom. Thanks for that.
    You are right about water and with the ocean situations, we all need to think even more about ways to cut down usage and also pollution. A big issue, and a bit heavy, but not to be avoided, eh?
    Well, you are so lucky to have warm seas to swim in. Reminds me of Virginia Beach; I swam quite a bit the two times I was there.
    Lovely post. Hugs to you both. ~ Linne

    • Aloha Linne! Hope you are all moved and settled and EVERYTHING! You’ve had as crazy a year as we have, but you had the cold and snow added into the mix. Swimming in warm seas is the paradise part of Hawaii, no question. Hugs to you my Canadian friend, Christi

  8. Congratulations on the coming grandchild, I have five now. Good to.hear from.you. Minnesota is finally warming up now. Aloha.

  9. Thank you for posting another entry. I’ve been getting dry and crackly without an update. I’m refreshed now. Happy one year anniversary. Ross

    • 🙂 Aloha Ross! It felt good to write it. We had house guests and I was involved for awhile. On another note, I hope to get my Therapik today! Mahalo, and big hugs from Hawaii, Christi

  10. Some of W.E.B. Griffin’s books include a Bouvier des Flandres who is a great and enormously appealing character, back before he started phoning it in and putting his son’s name on junk. I think it’s his OSS novels, if you like wartime spy fiction.

  11. Love the recap…I think you and your illustrator have settled in quite nicely!! I’m a huge fan of the good Dr. Seuss, and I subjected my children to many recitations. One that always elicits a groan: “Did I ever tell you that Mrs. McCave had twenty-three sons, and she named them all Dave? Well, she did. And that wasn’t a smart thing to do. You see, when she wants one, and calls out, “Yoo-Hoo! Come into the house, Dave!” she doesn’t get one – all twenty-three Daves of hers come on the run!”
    He was quite a philosopher; I think we can all find some great words of advice and inspiration in those books. Love ya!!

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