Yesterday I heard my first Christmas carol at a shop decorated with trees and ornaments. They must feel they need to start early because it’s hard to get into the mood for Halloween, let alone Christmas, when the leaves don’t change color and fall, and morning reaches 70°F by 8 am.
A reader recently asked me what autumn is like in Hawai’i. The first sign of fall is the report that the first humpback whales are back. I know a spot on the west side of the island where I am guaranteed to see them from the highway. I’ll be going soon. The weather is a bit cooler at 6 am so I’m back to wearing pants and a sweatshirt for that first hour writing out on the lanai. Dianne and I started going to the Honoka’a pool again. We both found the 10 am Water Aerobics time confining and inconvenient. Then it hit us: we know the routine, so we can go anytime! In summer we would never go in the afternoon as we’d fry in the intense sun. But in fall the afternoon is very pleasant and so is the pool.
The avocado tree in my backyard is coming to the end of her bounty. In the thick of summer we’d find 15 or more avocados a day on the ground. Now we’re down to one, maybe two. It’s time for the old generous tree to rest. We’ve also had plentiful bananas with two bunches ripening one after the other. And this year we finally have starfruit again. In 2010 the little tree was loaded. Then it produced nothing for the last two years.
So Kim and Thomas removed the big bush that overshadowed it. Now it’s getting sun, and the starfruit are popping out all over. I hope they will still be abundant when Jade comes home for Christmas break. Meanwhile I’m bringing starfruit to share at yoga instead of avocados.
I’m not sure when our morning yoga transformed to a coffee-klatch. But Anita is all about providing sustenance for us body, mind and spirit. So after an hour of yoga on Monday mornings, she brings out dainty cups of organic coffee for each of us poured from her small pink Hello Kitty thermos. At first it was just the coffee and a few minutes of chatting before dashing off to start our day. Then she began to bring humus, usually a hot variety that she’s made, gluten-free crackers, and some sort of fruit, often orange, banana, or apple slices. It’s such a nice little feast.
Over coffee and snack we swap recipes, news, and observations about life. The recipes are mostly healthy, and we’re always interested in what Anita’s added to her humus this day. The news is often personal, and our observations and politics lean liberal. Only one in the group is a regular reader of my blog, so I get to tell them about what’s happening with the GMO debate at the county council.
Many of us share produce at yoga. Besides my avocados and starfruit, Louli brings macadamia nuts she has collected, including from the big mac tree outside the yoga studio. She takes them someplace for cracking. Umm, they are so fresh. Tina brings coconut pieces, sometimes raw, sometimes toasted. She gets them from a guy who travels around the island selling coconuts. I asked her how she gets into them. “My son,” she said.
With eleven coconut trees in my yard, I have coconuts too, but didn’t have a clue how to get at the meat. (Why do they call it meat? It’s a plant!) So Rachel offered to teach me. I took her up on it. The following week she showed up at yoga with her machete and followed me home after class. It’s basically whack away until you get the knife embedded and then pound it on a rock or something hard until the outer hull splits. I can see how an iron wedge would be helpful, if we could only find the five we own but that are lost in the carport. I gave her three coconuts in exchange for the lesson. “Teach a man to fish” and all that. Once the hull was off, I still had to get into the little fibrous ball and dig out the meat. I toasted some of the coconut and found that even Faye liked it. Personally I prefer it raw, but you have to eat it fairly quickly (couple days) as it gets a slimy covering otherwise.
Thursday yoga is a different crowd including some guys. This is gentle yoga with an emphasis on breathing (pranayama) and muscle strengthening. The class is later in the day, so no coffee, but we still have fruit and sometime humus, and we swap whatever extra we have as fall settles in. Mitch and Dianne bring lemons and praying hands bananas, I bring oranges and starfruit, and the lilikoi (passion fruit) is starting to ripen in some folks’ yards. All we need is a place to gather to swap it, and Anita’s classes take care of that. I am so grateful to her for starting the tradition and to the people in her the classes for adding their own touches. With all this natural bounty, who needs Halloween candy?
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