Home in Hawaii
May 20, 2002
Kona, Hawaii
New Gear Fear

I’m feeling the fear of my new gear. It’s trickling in every day, UPS, Fed Ex, USPS. Pushing into the corners of my safe, stable life. Beginning to crowd me toward the door, toward the bright sunlight, the rain, snow, toward long roads or short trails, toward the crisp line of the horizon. Right smack into the big blank wall of the Great Unknown. Worse, it’s my fault.

When I think about it, every day is unknown and unknowable -- until the proper time. I surround myself with routine, with ritual. I rise, I eat, I wash, I work, I play. I sleep. Until the drone of the unknown becomes quiet and consistent and I rarely notice. Even the time I take each day to stare at clouds, to smell trees full of flowers, to chase the flight of birds with my eyes, to listen to the crash of waves, to let the colors of sunset wash over me... Even my daily sense of awe and wonder becomes stable and regular. Maybe routine. Perhaps... stagnant.

This bothers me. I resent the stony buildup of regular life. I resist the wall of jadedness that could keep me from remembering that this is a big and beautiful planet. Of how little of it I’ve seen. That there’s really nothing much to hold me back. I long to be moving. A deep longing. Similar to the one I had a few months ago: a longing to stay in one place for awhile. Strange.

I’ve been in Kona since September. Floating at first. Then sticking lightly. Then renewing and making strong connections. This town has somehow become the place that feels the most like home. Good friends and companions. Familiar, comfortable surroundings. A mix of opportunity and challenge. And close to the edge of daily adventure -- of rumbling volcano, of breathless ocean, crashing surf, black-rock desert, sucking mud, green-cliff valleys, white sand, deep craters, dark caves, snow-topped mountains. Of unfurling ferns, fragrant blossoms, towering trees, wide grassland, cloud forest, thick vines, waving palm trees. Of whales, dolphins, manta rays, barracudas, bright reef fish, wild pigs, a chorus of native forest birds, long white-tailed tropic birds, hoary bats, of pueo, of ‘io. Plus a cast of human characters that would be the envy of any self-respecting loony bin.

Ah, home. So nice to come back here. So nice to be here. And. So. Nice. To. Leave.

The connections are strong, but the roots are shallow. I’m leaving forever, but I’ll probably be back. I’m packing the bike again. I’m heading off somewhere again. I want to experience new things but I'm not sure what they are. Again.

The new gear has been arriving. Gear to help me do what I’ve learned to enjoy. My trusty digital camera has been beaten, kicked and strong-armed through about 18,500 pictures. The knobs are wearing off. I've just replaced it with a new one. Similar size. Newer technology. Higher zoot. And fairly scary so far.

There are items to make the camera happy, to keep it from the elements. There is worn luggage that needs to be replaced. There will be some fresh parts on the bike. There will be a swing through Colorado to pick up some non-tropical gear and clothing while I’m visiting my Sister, my Dad, my Grandma and the rest of the family. Then I’m off.

Where to? That, of course, remains to be seen. I've tried to give up predicting the future ever since the disheartening day when I discovered that the crystal ball I’d been gazing into was actually a honeydew melon. I have an idea of where I’m going. But until it happens it’s just another possibility in a wild and exciting world of possibilities.

I’ll keep you posted.



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