Sunday, February 21, 2010

Existing in Eden

It's a little surreal plunking oneself down in an 80-degree landscape in the midst of a (well, admittedly mild) Seattle winter. My first few days on Maui I walked around in a daze: Sun! Surfboards! Mai Tais! Hibiscus! It seemed as if everyone but me knew what to do. I ran for the shade, in shock. The racks of tropical-print shirts in every store sent out a glare against which I knew I was hopeless to shield. I tried to convert dollars to dollars. (What's the exchange rate between Hawaiian dollars and Seattle dollars?) I was in culture shock, in my own country.

But thankfully the transition from persistent grey to allover blue was speedy, and before long I began to feel comfortable in my own bared skin and even -- shock! -- walked barefoot, a thing I rarely allow these tender paws. I soon began to envision everyone I knew, anywhere on the planet, in sleeveless shirts and shorts. E-mails from my boss in snowy Philadelphia seemed to be coming from an alternate universe. Snow? Ice? Aren't we over that yet?!

High humidity -- which crumples and then liquefies me -- did not exist. In its place, a constant benevolent breeze cooled the skin and carried with it an ever-shifting fragrance: plumeria, saltwater, rain-forest, eucalyptus. I was emptied out, blessed and sanctified in a baptism of cerulean waters. The possibilities for goodness seemed endless.


And again, sigh.


Re-entry has been gentle; with temperatures in the upper 50's and nary a cloud on the horizon, Seattle seems to have plunged forward into an early spring. Here at the day-four mark in my post-paradise recovery -- it seems I still exist in The Grace Period of Happiness that often follows an especially remarkable sojourn. My sister asked me, "Have you recovered yet from --", and knowing she meant "jetlag" as her next word, I interjected "--happiness? Are you asking me if I've recovered yet from happiness?"

Nope. Not yet. And I intend to hold on to this, um, condition as long as I possibly can.


  1. ah, you had the quintessential Hawaiian experience. what a mind-blow, eh? Those smells are truly intoxicating. Can you imagine waking up to that EVERY day?

    Ah, paradise....

  2. strange as it is to say
    here's hoping you don't recover completely!

  3. Tara, yes! Yes!

    handandspirit: I'm hoping the same thing. I am not normally a "sun" person, but now all I want to do is be in it.

  4. This has me smiling, T. Clear!

    Long you may you live - and thrive - in the Grace Period of Happiness.

    L, C

  5. An easy landing and re-entry! Welcome home.

  6. Thanks, Claire! It's a great state of being.