It’s our last day in Honolulu, and I’m feeling bone tired. We walked for hours yesterday: my hip and knees hurt. My daughter is sleeping in this morning, so I go out for my Starbucks and oatmeal, and slip quietly back into the room, then exit out to the balcony to watch the sunrise. Maybe I’ll be able to meditate too.
It’s 6:45 am, and the city is fairly quiet. In the dawning light, can see the ocean from here; we’re actually quite close, maybe two or three blocks. I hadn’t realized it, as we have been focused on the artifacts of the city, not the nature around us for the past two days. Two high-rise buildings across the street frame a marina of sailboats in the distance. To my left, I can finally see the sun creeping over the edge of some tall buildings. The large white “tented” low building is the Hawai’i Convention Center.
When I look back at the marina scene, I witness the sunlight just hitting the faces of the two high-rises. It looks like it will be a nice day. Back home in Honoka’a they’ve had solid rain since Friday.
I notice that the sun is quickly creeping down the face of the two buildings. As the sun moves downward, I start to hear the city come awake with traffic. The automobile noise in the streets below me punctuates the morning. That moving sun-line is like a meter – a visual cue for the auditory intrusion besetting the city.
I begin to pick out different aspects of the traffic noise – the squeak of a truck brake, the rumbling of a bus along potholed pavement, the slow hiss of hydraulic brakes, now a car honking. The sun finally flashes on the whitecaps of the waves and I can see them clearly beyond the boats.
The wind is strong today, and my hair is whipping around. I’d go back in for a hair tie, but I don’t want to disturb Jade. Then a strange humming noise creeps into my conscious. I stop moving except to cock my ears this way and that, trying to identify it. I finally realize it is the sound of the wind in the canyons of the buildings. Soon a jet takes off and flies past; and then I hear the familiar rumble of a Harley, maybe two.
Suddenly a bunch of sirens go off – but from which direction? I stand on the balcony for a better view of the emergency vehicles. A moment or two passes, then I see a single ambulance pull into the street behind the hotel. It was the sound of its siren bouncing off the buildings, splitting and crossing paths that sounded like many.
I notice the scraping sound of lounge chairs pulled into position near the pool by a maintenance person, ten floors below me. Occasionally I hear the individual sound of a car on the street immediately in front of the hotel, but it’s mostly the relentlessly loud drone of the now constant traffic on the main street just beyond.
In this moment, I realize just how quiet Honoka’a is and I am grateful. Even the neighbor’s roosters are better than this. Just then I hear cheep, cheep, cheep and see two sparrows fly down to the pool area. I smile – there is some nature here. It’s a good moment to thank the Universe for all of my blessings.
Soon we are down at street level, piling into the van and poking our nose into traffic. It’s a Sunday morning, yet it’s a strong constant flow. I thank God I didn’t have to drive. It’s slick, windy, and congested – not my favorite driving conditions, and I don’t see much ‘Aloha driving’ here. Now the city noise is at ear level. On the way to the Bishop Museum, it begins to rain – in the hour since I’ve been on the balcony, it clouded over.
Then I hear that familiar rumble again – Harleys, a bunch of them. This reminds me of home – Wisconsin. Harleys are made in Milwaukee, and we saw so many of them on the road that they became part of the surroundings. Here on a Sunday morning in Honolulu, they bring a little piece of Wisconsin close, though not peace to the auditory environment. I don’t know why the Harley club would choose to ride around in this weather, but it was nice to see them.
For more essays on Honolulu and things to see there, see:
If you like my blog, you’ll enjoy my book, Manifesting Paradise, available on Amazon. Receive my posts automatically by filling in your email address in the “follow” box at the top of the right column. And please join my mailing list.