2017-01-31

Of hope and cold stars

The moon has her Cheshire cat grin on, and Venus is piercing the night sky just above her. Orion's Belt is clearly visible, and Cassipea's in a strange place in the sky.

I get home and it's windy and the cat's sleeping in the living room. But when she sees me she wants me to sit with her and scratch her belly.

I get invited to a barbecue with my landlord's old buddies from when they were kids. Here I am in Hawaii sitting with four old-time surfers, and I don't really know what they're talking about, but it's wonderful.

I have started counting the time I have left here in weeks. Soon I will be counting in days. The end of an era. I have a lot to go back to. I am leaving a lot behind.

The weather has been chilly. I've been wearing sweaters. This morning I finally caved and wrapped myself in a blanket when I sat down at the computer. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the difference between this and Montreal winter. But it feels like we've been stuck in June for months and we're deeply yearning for summer.

I went on a long hike throughout the mountains with Kellie, the newly arrived TCP Fellow. We started with tropical forest to Manoa Falls, then climbed through a bamboo forest; walked on the knees of giant banyans; through a forest of big trees; then bushes; then what I called the enchanted forest, with moss and ginger and curtains of vines everywhere. We ended up at Tantalus. We hiked down. And suddenly we were back in the city, walked all the way to Waikiki and ate a huge burger while watching my hula Halau perform.

Walking around with someone new puts a perspective on some things I have started to take for granted. For example, if some passengers missed their stop and don't know how to get to where they're going, the bus driver will get out of the bus to explain and point and every other passenger will try to help.

Or today, I remarked to the driver that his system was announcing the stops too early, and he said don't worry I know where you get off.

When I first got here, my stay in Hawaii was about me, and about taiko, and about exploring Honolulu. But the day Trump was elected, something changed. People were worried. Hawaii has very different demographics than the mainland, and a strong independence movement. People here are incredulous and worried. And worried.

So I participated in the Women's March. Then I joined all the government scientists' rogue Twitter accounts. And then came the ban on refugees and predominantly Muslim countries (and attorneys set up temporary camps at major airports to help them). And there was the shooting in a mosque in Quebec city that left 6 dead (and started a wide movement of support). This country could fall apart; and it could take the world as we know it down with it. I'm not sure it will be enough, but people are rallying and getting together and fighting, throughout the world. This has suddenly made us citizens of the planet. This is beautiful, and gives me hope.

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