“And after all the warmth of the summer and the fall…,” November brings a chill to us even here on Kauaʻi.
November was the ninth month when the winter still went unnamed. Before that, it was blood month, when people in England butchered their animals and prepared for a lean and nameless winter. Now it looms over us, elections and holidays on the horizon. Rain and wind and those large swells on the way like giant migrating animals from the cold and distant North Pacific.
November 1, 2020
Anchors again. Glassier today, smaller, but still so. Much. Fun.
I paddled out around 7:30 this morning. The water is often cold near shore and there is a sharp divide about halfway out when the warmer ocean takes over from the cooler river water, not gradually, but all at once. Today I noticed, for the first time I think, that the warm water line coincided with a much smoother water surface.
No dolphins visited me today but I saw one small turtle and many fish. And too many airplanes.
November 2, 2020
The day before the election.
Last week, my students and I read and discussed “Joyas Voladoras,” by Brian Doyle. Here is a snippet: “No living being is without interior liquid motion. We all churn inside…So much held in a heart in a lifetime. So much held in a heart in a day, an hour, a moment.” Many students found parts of this text moving, important to think about. They spent the week wondering about how to spend their finite amount of heartbeats, how no one knows what is in our hearts, how no one can wall their hearts up forever, how we should be careful with them, open them up perhaps.
And then today a student sent me this as his discussion of learning: “On monday I learn about your dumbass stupid quote about bitch animals, the fuck you think i going live like one humming bird…”
Ah, the fear and rage that boils out of people when they are asked to be vulnerable or simply to think. For too many people, being reflective, thinking, is the most vulnerable and scary thing they might ever do, so they wall up their hearts and run away. And though I know this student’s words, his anger, are symptoms of his fear or stress or boredom, they still seem to carry more weight than the other 15 years of students’ words.
So I decided to leave a bit early and wash off the day. I paddled out at Makaʻiwa, in front of the restaurant, at 2:20, into a rising tide. The swell was not good but that is not the ocean’s fault. Salt water is just as it is and today the water was clear and warm and glassy. A couple on longboards was messing around close to the heiau, but I sat on the shallow slab where the main wave breaks. Eventually, a guy on a SUP came out with an overweight friend on another giant, soft top, and then before I paddled in, someone came out with a foil. Strangely crowded for the conditions.
I stayed on my spot, away from the others, and just washed the day off. I even managed to find a few fun waves, all rights, some even hollow enough for a small cover up. Was it good today? It was fun, as usual.
November 3, 2020
The day that marks the end of the election. Instead of sitting around refreshing our browsers all day, we decided to take the girls and Cosmo to Pilaʻa, where we could distract ourselves while the rest of the country counted and reported and commented breathlessly.
There was a decent north west swell lighting up the reef spots, putting on a nice show as we hiked down the cliff to the rocks. The dog thoroughly enjoyed the adventure, happily hopping across rocks and digging in the sand. He eventually even joined the girls in the water near the little river mouth where we had made camp. I was surprised to see that the swell was big enough to bring a fun little knee high wave in across the sand bard in front of the river mouth. The girls and I body surfed a few, but mostly we just enjoyed not yet knowing about the election.