Weekly Photo Challenge: Nostalgic

When I look at the many photos I’ve taken in Hawaii, nostalgic is a mild word for what I feel. Longing is more like it. It’s not that Hawaii is “paradise” as so many people say; it’s not paradise. Every morning when I got out of bed, I shook out my slippers to make sure no centipedes were lurking. And if I got up in the night for the bathroom, wariness was always in order for the same reason. And I’m talking about loooooong centipedes, as much as six to eight inches long. My sister Jeanne taught me to pick them up with long tongs, cut them in half (over the toilet) with scissors, and flush them down. That’s not exactly paradise.

But I felt at home there in a way I feel at home in few places. The land, the wind, the wide stretches where I could see far felt like mine.

There were wild pigs in the brush and their tusks were enough to cause serious damage. Or more. My brother-in-law Robert’s friend, another Robert, would come down to the land from time to time and go hunting just to clear them out some. There were cattle loose on the land. Driving back to the house at night was always a challenge as the cattle slept on the road – a warmer spot than rocks.

Ah, but the mornings. The photo is the view out my window where I sat each morning, writing. Rainbows didn’t always greet me in the morning, they were more an afternoon or evening thing, but when I see this photo, I remember ocean sounds and gargley myna bird conversations. The birds woke early, before dawn. And after I moved down near Volcano, I’d hear the jungle wake every morning, a cacophony of birds warming up for the day’s concert.

But this view is from my sister’s house, looking west to the ocean. And when I see it, I am home.


Weekly Photo Challenge: Beyond #3

I have one more “beyond” photo to share. This one the mock-up cover of my book of poetry which will be published by Finishing Line Press in May and which arrived this week for my approval.

There’s many instances of beyond behind this cover. One is the photo itself which I took one day while out driving back roads. If you look closely, you’ll see a horse at the far edge of the pasture, almost beyond sight. But the other beyond is the content. The book includes poems I wrote shortly after returning to Kansas in 1999, my mother coming back after I did, her death, the death of two close friends after that (death being the great beyond), and at last, Cliff and my marriage which is beyond anything I expected.

I’m happy about this book. And the step that takes me beyond the place of being published but not having a book of my own–and having one. “One more step along the way,” some wise young men once sang.  (PS: there’s a lot of white space at the top of the cover so you have to go beyond that to see the photo!! See what “beyond” leads me to?)

Sunderland_Janet cov FIN (2)