i have my memories…

It’d been several years since I was home to visit family in Hawaii. With my mother in-law’s passing, my husband, daughter and I made the trip to Honolulu with a mixture of sadness and joy.

We were fortunate to rent a condo near the hub of tourist activities, Waikiki Beach, without being in the midst of all the traffic…pedestrian and automotive.

Waikiki Beach, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA.

Waikiki Beach, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To say I felt rejuvenated as the days unfolded, is an understatement. The sheer pleasure of walking out the front door, hand-in-hand with my hubby, and having the warm, tropical breezes softly brush both cheeks was simply…heaven on earth.

Our walks rarely varied. We’d stop to breakfast at a small cafe in a nearby hotel, before leisurely strolling along the beach.

Thinking healthy, we’d order scrambled egg whites, oatmeal, and island must-haves…a few pieces of Portuguese sausage and a couple of macadamia nut pancakes. To the surprise of the young waitress, hubby and I would share our bountiful meal. Explaining our desire to live long, happy lives…she’d smile, nodding her approval.

Sitting among planters brimming with colorful varieties of orchids, and gentle trees whose limbs directed our eyes toward the sand and sea…we felt at peace with our surroundings…and life in general.

This was the Hawaii of my childhood, only better. Carefree…bellies full…dreams realized.

Wandering the length of the beach, we were amazed at the expanded shore line. It literally took my breath away.

The last time I saw this section of Waikiki Beach, much of the ocean was walled off by a long, winding stonewall. What water was free of obstruction was literally lapping at my feet.

View of Waikiki Beach area hotels. Halekulani ...

View of Waikiki Beach area hotels. Halekulani is in the center, to the left of the large curved building (Hotel Sheraton). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I liked what I was seeing this go round.

Sand as far as my eyes could see. The beach front of my childhood. Nothing between me and the Pacific, blue waters…but glistening, white sand.

One day when my daughter and I sought to spend several hours basking in the sun, we made our way down to the beach. I opted for laying our towels in the immediate vicinity of a manmade lagoon which sat between a hotel and the ocean.

Dropping myself onto the towel, my bottom literally went…kerplunk! The sand felt as hard as a wood floor. Wasn’t it suppose to be cushiony?

My daughter laughed, her eyes twinkling in the sunlight.

She reminded me that my brother-in-law, her uncle, had told us the beach front had been a creation of man’s ingenuity.

All of the sand we beheld had been brought there, tons and tons of it. The shoreline had literally been swallowed up by the ocean. As a result, the city and affected businesses had to pay for its reconstruction. Otherwise, where would the tourists go? Elsewhere, obviously.

I remember an older sister telling me long ago, that the beaches were disappearing inch by inch.

A teen, too young to care, I didn’t put much stock in what she said. But after thinking about this situation recently, I can remember how surprised I was when I visited Kihei on the island of Maui over 20 years ago. My favorite beach bore no resemblance to the one I loved, growing up.

Kalama Beach Park was a regular weekend destination for my family. As soon as my mom pulled into the parking lot and stopped the car, my brother, sister and I flung open the doors and raced one another to the beach.

Digging our toes into the hot sand, we’d plop our bodies down…reveling in the openness and the breathtaking beauty that surrounded us.

Never could I have imagined that sweet memories of childhood days frolicking on the wide open beaches of my birthplace…would be all that remained.

When I hear and see, as I did last night when watching the PBS FRONTLINE documentary, of the effects of global warming, I’m saddened to know what has happened in Hawaii has occurred elsewhere, and is continuing to take place…now…in areas of our country such as North Carolina.

I believe we have tampered with Mother Nature.

Anyone who contemplates all the changes that have occurred within recent decades to the weather and to the earth itself, cannot explain away our impact upon these events.

We are not invisible.

We have used all available natural resources to indulge ourselves. Meanwhile, we have put very little effort into ensuring that these resources will be available long term…for our children, grand-children, great-grand-children…and their children, grand-children, great-grand-children.

I have my memories. You probably have yours. What kind of memories will our loved ones have?

Unless we invest in our environment, our beaches…may altogether…disappear. …and so it begins………hugmamma.

 

Kihei, Maui, Hawaii

 

earth song…

Another blogger, kavi, at http://www.wingrish.wordpress.com …reminded me of the devastation the earth has suffered at the hands of humankind. We then both remembered Michael Jackson’s Earth Song, a powerful statement asking the question, on behalf of all species disenfranchised by man’s destruction of our environment…“What about us???” 

A  moving plea which deserves an answer…one that will most likely…never come…or come…too late.   

…kicking the can…down the road… 

………hugmamma. 

coffee with friends, so much more than

If women were the world leaders of governments, corporations, learning institutions, medical facilities, courts of justice, sports teams, the entertainment and music industries, and any other body having great societal impact, they’d probably do their venting over coffee with girlfriends.

Coffee with the women means, friends gathering together to vent about anything, and everything. Surely centuries old, this female ritual has probably saved countless marriages, and kept our prison population from overflowing. Our ancestors, cave women, must have wanted to crack a few skulls. Being dragged around by the hair would not have been an endearing prospect. Native American women didn’t drink coffee (or did they?) but using smoke signals to communicate their marital woes was, perhaps, the start of environmental pollution. A frontier wife might have envied Annie Oakley her skills with a gun, when her cowboy came through the door smelling of whiskey and women. And a Victorian lady must’ve ripped off her corset and took a swig, when she was in a snit. Would Sonny and Cher have continued as a duo, if she’d had regularly done coffee with the women? “And the beat goes on, and the beat goes on. La, de, da, de, do, la, de, da, de, day…”

Women, coffee and conversation are like a game of Ouija. One speaks, another interrupts, the first resumes speaking, and the ebb and flow of conversation continues. The chatter is spirited, peals of laughter ring out, continuing to ripple through the group. Then voices quiet into whispers, while knowing glances and nodding heads silently agree that “it’s so frustrating…” whether it’s talk of jobs, husbands, children, mothers, even mother-in-laws. All agree that these sessions are more productive than paying for psychotherapy and a lot more fun as well.

The best coffee gatherings are among women whose personalities are in accord. Allowing one another time to speak, rather than hogging the conversation is also important. Egos are stroked, each feeling uplifted knowing others care, so that they needn’t continue shouldering their burdens alone. Coffee (for me) with a good friend (tea for her) became an important “life-line” when I moved with my, then 16-year-old, daughter to Atlanta. For two-and-a-half years I chaperoned her while she journeyed toward a career in ballet. My husband, our financial support, remained behind.

When my daughter was invited to train with the professional company where we relocated, our family consented without hesitation. Rushing forward without thought, we moved into an apartment with my husband’s help. The day he departed for home, we breakfasted at a pancake house. It was then that the finality of our decision hit me like a “ton of bricks.” I burst into tears. Ever the pragmatic one, my husband assured me he’d visit in a month or so. That seemed like an eternity to be without my best friend of so many years. But as moms have always done, I “placed one foot in front of the other,” and carried on.

It’s been about 5 years since I returned home to my husband. Having apprenticed with a ballet company in another state, my daughter was promoted to full member a year ago. She begins her second season this fall. Through hard work and maturity beyond her years, she has accomplished every young ballerina’s dream. There were peaks and valleys to be sure, but my daughter weathered them with our help, and the encouragement and prayers of many who have loved and supported her through the years.

Offering me a shoulder upon which to lean, or cry, was a woman who became, and remains, a very dear friend. It wasn’t unusual for Becky and I to linger over a cup of coffee, or tea, for hours, kibbitzing about her son and my daughter. Both aspired to being professional ballet dancers. We’d compare “war” stories about people with whom we had dealings, who seemed insensitive to the difficulties our children encountered. Very little was ever resolved, but reinvigorated, we could return to parenting, knowing a friend was nearby.

I was able to offer Becky some advice, since I was already in the midst of helping my daughter wend her way through the maze of becoming a career ballerina. It is such a singular path, not like being in college with thousands of like-minded youngsters. How one dancer succeeds is not a ready prescription for another’s success. But from my observations, certain facts seemed applicable to every wannabe professional.

Success seems dependent upon 50% talent and 50% other factors like a solid work ethic, quickness at learning choreography, resiliency to criticism, continuing good health, and a lot of luck. It certainly doesn’t hurt to be “in the right place, at the right time.” When it comes to casting, being a favorite of resident and visiting choreographers is a plus. Less tangible is having “the look” that an artistic director wants for a role or for the company in general. This alone can force a dancer to audition wherever there may be openings, in the hopes of a perfect match. With much effort and good fortune, a job is found, if not, the dream will likely end.

Deciding to go the college route, Becky’s son graduated with a Fine Arts Degree in Dance. To his credit and due diligence, he is in his second year apprenticing with a ballet company. This is no small feat in the current economy when the arts are suffering the loss of patronage.

Belonging to a rare breed of women, moms of professional ballet dancers, Becky and I continue to enjoy a mutually supportive friendship. Circumstances may prevent us from meeting as we once did, but given the ease of travel these days, it’s not too far-fetched to assume we’ll be meeting for coffee, tea and friendly conversation somewhere, some time… 

it’ll be like old times, only better…hugmamma.