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A Short Hawaiian Lexicon...
Dedicated to All my friends and family on Oahu!
Submitted by Rosemarie
A Short Hawaiian Lexicon, or What I Most Long to Do Again:
Wind-whisked shadows drip along the beach, like chocolate melting in the heat; bask in Hawaii's incomparable cocoa-butter runoff, and surrender cares to the surf and the breeze and the saxaphonic children, whose laughter -- which comes in every language -- competes with the birds for flying space.
Mark the trails of great gray whales in geysers of breath, from the lips of prehistoric volcanic plugs or ancient, tidal wave scoured bays guarded by spiny urchin and goby, where generations of jeweled parrot fish crunch coral snacks into icing-sugar sand, and little John Dory rides the current for a hopeful nibble at your toes.
Gather on the North shore, beneath a pastel ice cream sunset: On a beach of round white stones, watch great green sea turtles peer over wave froth, inquiring how we dare invade their ocean,their beach, which skirts the steepest vegetated mountains in the world; cloudy summits graced the the cairn of ha'iau open into valleys alive with trilling red I'iwi and towering tree ferns, where passion flowers thrive and the footsteps of fortunate brides sometimes fall.
An eclectic, ethnic, esperanto little bit of everything -- which so many places promise, but never adequately reach -- sprinkles sidewalks and streets, where people mingle walking, skating, flying kites, or fishing with a homemade pole, complete with a little spiced ham on a safety pin, catching fish somewhat bonier and only slightly more edible than the bait, from a wide dark mirror of water that spans three city miles to keep marsh and sea at bay.
(LI HING MUI)
Rummage between morning showers, through open air emporiums where doves coo in the plumeria trees, and the fragrances of freshly-dug ginger root, licorice plum, and kafir lime leaves compete with the ubiquitous tang of dried cuttlefish for attention -- beloved delights that give Hawaii its flavor, no more native than poi or an outrigger's sail.
From the palm-frond baskets in which they rest, choose prickly lychee fruits or tiny green Thai eggplants, whose dreams are of swimming in a coconut-curry sea at some luau, where the pit grill will be a fifty-gallon steel drum cut in half longways, seaweed thrown onto hot stones for flavor, as though brought there by a very high tide.
Take a stroll where part-time shorebirds select bromeliads for a nest, sweet and sour fruit that erupts from pahoehoe soil like snug chicks; little geese in the hibiscus, peackocks nesting in the banyans -- implausible neighbors in an unlikely home, birds from India and Venezuela vying for a taste of fresh vanilla orchid buds.
Polynesia, Europe, some of Africa, and much of Asia meet in Hawaii, to discuss how they take their tea, or coffee -- latte, mocha, espresso, then there's me (a cup of milk!) but it's all so delicious that anyone would want to indulge and, without reservation, maybe even stay.