Dusk, on the beach at Honokowai.

June 22nd, 2014, 6pm

It was 26°C with few clouds. There was moderate breeze.

I slip into the water, my black form both weightless and buoyant, and an intense familiarity envelops me instantly. I am back where I belong, six long months away on land and air yielding an aridity of soul that stuns me now: this is where I belong, in this watery element, in these fluid mysteries.

I am alone on this span of beach, on Maui’s northwestern coast. Not always a good thing, to dive by oneself. But no one’s out today, and I don’t really mind, as there’s no big surf or current to be wary of. I go down, down to where the kelp and seaweed make the sandy bottom a waving, viscous, shimmery carpet.

I bear no airtanks on my back, as free-diving is my siren song. The only oxygen I have is that I hold in my lungs, now half a year atrophied by breathing the easy air of the world above. So I can’t stay under as long as I was able to, last spring. But I aim to rectify this lack, soon enough. Soon enough.

Here, thought deserts me. And there is only Swimming. There is even no Breathing… just a holding thereof, a holding of death itself in abeyance, ironically in the act of keeping breath away. I glide through a forest of bluegreen seagrass, looking for turtles, finding none. It is early in the afternoon, no one is feeding here, yet. Eerily, it is still silent. But soon, the voices of whales will come and fill the void, or at least I hope they will.

I surface to find clouds scudding seaward from the mountain valleys, bearing rain, and it falls as if in blessing. On me, on my family waiting ashore, on sinner and saints and the sea alike, whence it cometh, where it returns.

[About 13 years ago, I wrote the above fragment on Honokowai.]

Shu, Christine, Porter, Eoghan and 2 others said thanks.

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Lloyd Nebres

I lived in a village and homestead set aside for people of Hawaiian ancestry. I am not Hawaiian but had been adopted into the culture—to my profound gratitude.

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