City Girl Gone Wandering
I found a neighborhood park! Well, really it’s a neighborhood beach, but its sprawling lawn of green grass feels more like a beachfront Astoria Park to me. I love it, and it is just down a long winding road from where I live. Hopefully I will be able to frequent it throughout the remainder of my time here.
As is true of many of the places around me, Manini Beach is a fantastic place for snorkeling. I did my best to swim with the fishies, but my breathing tube was leaking. When I realized this I was already pretty far out in the bay, so I made the effort to dive down, hold my breath, see the sights, and then come up for air. I tired of it quickly. Next time I will definitely bring different gear.
Still, what I saw was truly awe-inspiring; beneath the choppy surface of the water lay an abundance of coral sculptures, twisting and turning along the ocean floor. Tropical fish swam among them—black fish with orange stripes, yellow fish that looked like they’d been colored in the neon tint of a crisp highlighter, and a few scattered breeds that blended with the greyish-blue tint of the water. The ocean is truly fascinating, marked by a mystery and vastness that my mind can only slightly comprehend.
The park is also home to a community garden, and this growing veggie has a pretty delightful daily view.
Behind the great lawn (as I have nostalgically come to call it) is a small rocky path. My friend told me that it leads to some pretty great sights, so I followed it out of curiosity. What I found were a couple of benches and a fire pit overlooking the bay. And lava rock. Of course. Because there is lava rock literally everywhere.
I also found a note about the sacredness of the space.
The culture of the island is so immersed in unity and healing, and that (along with things like this note) is what makes me truly love Hawaii. Much of this is being stripped away through the ongoing Americanization of the islands, but some of it remains. It is in these remainders that I find the spirit of Aloha, and come to comprehend why I felt the impulse to come here in the first place. Call it new-agey and overly spiritual, call it hippie-dippy, call it what you will. Either way, I enjoy the idea of connecting with the land and viewing it as sacred shared space. I thrive in a community that, like me, believes that we can never truly own anything.
On that note, one of the things I find pretty spectacular about Hawaii is that they have a law that makes all beaches and oceanfront land public property. Nobody can really own the seashore. Even in Kona, the waterfront hotels can upkeep the land and offer it to their guests, but they cannot close it down from public use. This is the antithesis of attitudes about land on the east coast, where everyone battles each other to hoard as much property as possible. For example, a beach in front of a hotel in Cape Cod belongs exclusively to that hotel. No outsider can penetrate its barriers. Not so much in Hawaii. I have to say, it’s nice to see a government that still understands the concept of shared space. Like any other place, Hawaii has a whole slew of political problems and issues, but that law is certainly one thing they got right.
There is so much that I connect with on this island but, at the end of the day, it isn’t home. New York isn’t either, not anymore—not really. So I’m still in search of the magical place that will light a fire within me and claim me as its own. Perhaps I will find it one day, or perhaps I never will. Either way, I am grateful to be discovering new pieces of myself in the reflective spirit of Aloha and Mahalo.