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