I’m typing these words from what must be the most beautiful writing desk on the planet. From my window I can gaze across the bay to the dramatic Ko’olau mountains beyond. After the recent heavy rain the scent of basil is wafting in through the open window.
How did I come to find myself here in paradise? Two months ago I got on a plane in San Francisco and arrived in Honolulu. A few days later I found myself alone in an empty apartment with nothing familiar except for the few items I brought in my suitcase. With Jerry off at work, I knew this was no vacation. Suddenly uprooted, I wept with loneliness for my home, dogs, friends, business and everything I had so recently cherished. My Waikiki apartment was situated on the main thoroughfare, and the noise from the cars and sirens on the street below combined with the thumping beat from the 24 Hour Fitness across the street. The cacophony went on all night to the delight of partying tourists from around the world.
I couldn’t sleep in this alien environment, so I was happy when dawn gave me an excuse to get out of bed. And what an excuse! Perched on the 14th floor of the iconic Foster Tower building my expansive view encompassed the entire Bay with Diamond Head off in the distance. As the sky lightened the gathering clouds turned spectacular shades of pink, salmon and gold. The fleeting loveliness of this filled my spirit every morning. I soon set up my easel on the lanai, and begin brushing paint on paper to more fully experience the beauty of every sunrise.
When the ocean began to sparkle in the sunlight I would come down from my apartment tower to walk the shoreline, enjoying the soft early morning light. The crowds had yet to fill every square inch of beach. As my feet splashed through the surf, I looked closely at the wavelets and saw how the light reflected off every ripple. Later the midday sun turned the water into a bright palette of aqua, turquoise and purple.
It wasn’t long before being surrounded by all of this light started to lift my spirits. When I first arrived I was angry about being displaced and spent most of the day dealing with the frustrating necessities of relocating my life to an island. I didn’t want to be confused with the tourists, so I continued to wear summer versions of my stylish California clothes, including lots of black. But as the weeks melted away I begin wearing all the tropical colors of my paintings. One day I realized that I felt such a lightness of spirit that if it were possible to wear a soap bubble that would have been my choice. Or one of the many rainbows that indiscriminately grace everything from the beach to the freeway billboards.
If I were still living in Northern California I know I would be resonating with the big winter storms and the sudden flashes of deep blue when the skies parted. I’d be wrapping myself in a cashmere scarf the dusky lavender blue of the late afternoon horizon. Velvet would be called for. I’d be painting on deep toned eggplant paper and using the rich, heavy saturated hues of my chalk pastels as I captured the dramatic shapes of the bare branches.The first whisper of blossoming trees would have me searching my closet for my stash of pink winter sweaters.
A couple of weeks ago we moved to a dog friendly rental on the Windward side of the Island. The surroundings and light are completely different. Storm clouds gather and it rains often. On soft, misty days I feel like I am a pearl living inside an oyster shell. I resonate to this tender, shimmering atmosphere. My hair seems like the perfect color here. I’m trying to capture the silvery light with my watercolors, a new medium for me and full of unknowns. It’s cooler, and very green, and I am attracted to wearing richer colors more in tune with the lush landscape.
Wherever I am I look, notice, and breathe in my surroundings. The connection to my environment influences my clothing choices and deepens my connection to my inner and outer beauty. At this moment I am incredibly fortunate to be having this experience of living in Hawaii. My days are a mix of awe, amazement, adjustment and often still missing what was so recently “home.” Being able to paint the surrounding beauty enables me to view the challenges as just a necessary part of a big adventure.
There is so much to say, so many impressions. I’m calling this chapter in my life Growing More Beautiful – Island Style. The days fly by with the usual lightning speed, but because each one is so filled with new experiences two months seems like a long time. I’ve been keeping a journal, mostly about the process of making a big transition. Whenever I go in the ocean I receive insightful messages about how to adjust to this new life from my mermaid cohorts. I’ve been posting paintings, mostly quick sketches, frequently on Facebook. Visit my online gallery to view some of my favorites (sorry iPad and iPhone users, the gallery won’t be visible to you at this time — we’re working on it!). Check back and watch my progress as I “learn to see” in this new environment.
I hope this finds you enjoying the beauty wherever you are. Aloha.