Dec 26, 2008

What made my Christmas, 2008 edition

I'm glad Christmas is over with for another year.

I don't loathe the holiday, but unfortunately, people just make too big a deal out of it. I am not religious and certainly don't aspire to be, so that eliminates at least half the potential appeal right there. All I really do value it for are the memories of years past, when I was young and naive enough to believe in Santa Claus, and that world peace was achievable. When I got so excited about opening my presents I could barely contain myself, and I could easily lose myself in the majesty of the outdoor lights and a tree filling the house with a warm, colorful glow in the middle of the night.

This year, it simply felt like more of a chore than anything else. What do I get for a retired dad who invests in gold and silver and apparently can buy whatever he feels like having? I don't know, but of course, I feel obligated to place some miscellaneous crap under the tree for everyone. I still enjoy the holiday lights and the fragrance of imported pine in the house and... well, what else? Christmas brings home my brother, whom I seem to have nothing in common with, and whose dirty glance in my direction at the dinner table was the only communication we've shared in years. I got some seasonal employment with UPS, which enabled me to earn a few hundred extra dollars which was certainly worth it, but I can't say much for the environment I had to work in this year. As I had stated in LJ earlier, it's a "culturally homogenized snooty hell hole of golf courses and gated mansions." If all of Hawaii was like that, I wouldn't have anything to do with this place. And of course, there is the shopping. Thousands of consumers stampeding through the stores like cattle, snatching up the best bargains they can find as if they depend on those huge sales for their very survival.

All I really cared for this Christmas was someone to snuggle, or at least enjoy the company of, rather than having to act polite around my family and put up with their various attitudes. Well, maybe next year.

The actual highlight of Christmas day was taking off in the afternoon by myself. Just me, my music, the open road, and the freedom to do whatever I want and voyage wherever I please for the rest of the day. Such therapy. It also just so happened that I wandered right into an intense rain storm, in an area where rain is hardly a common occurence. Rain in the desert is really a special experience, to witness a landscape that is usually bone dry and barren experiencing a total deluge. I savored that for at least an hour before heading back around to the lush, foresty side of the peninsula and traveling down the road until it terminated at the Pololu Valley lookout. Since it was a holiday, the parking lot was infested with tourae, but as I made my way down the steep hiking trail into the valley I left them all behind. That was perfectly fine with me; I've had enough of humanity for the week.

Pololu Valley is one of the most beautiful, not to mention spiritually soothing, places on Earth. It's just a completely uninhabited, totally wild, densely forested little valley surrounded by dramatically steep walls that preclude 99% of human souls from bothering to venture into it to experience its majesty. Of course, it's also possible to sail in from the ocean and land on the sprawling black sand beach at the mouth, but the sea is usually much too rough and the waves too intimidating to make landing there anything but too dicey of a thing to plan for. In fact, I discovered a boat washed up on the beach yesterday. It was all in pieces, dozens of little fragments of wood that appeared to have been floating about in the saltwater for quite some time. One of them contained the skeleton of a marine loudspeaker, and I came across several beached cabinet doors, clothes hangers, and other odd miscellaneous items. All of this debris was washed up on only a small section of the beach.

The coast was being positively buffeted by wind. Warm, salty Pacific trade winds, gusting strongly enough to force me to lean into it slightly to properly stroll forward. It felt wonderful. Aside from the constant roar of the ocean right beside me, I could hear the wind whooshing through the ironwood trees that densely forested the lofty dunes just behind the beach. Myriad sea birds announced their presence over those lulling sounds of nature, and that was all I could hear. A fragment of a vivid rainbow was visible in the sky over the sea, as rain clouds made their way closer and closer to shore, and eventually treated me to a nice light shower.

I could have stayed out there much longer and would have, were it not for the expectation that I should be home for dinner.

No comments: