Friday, June 17, 2011

A Nighttime Ramble

The night sky draped darkly over the island.  Cooking fires had long since burned down to one or two smoldering coconut husks.  A fingernail moon pinned the black canopy in place, accompanied by a million stars.  I had slipped from my bed, driven out into the night by some hungry, restless need.  Wrapping only a thin lava lava around myself, I escaped our house and the quiet sleeping sounds of my family.  The night welcomed me as its own.

The coconut fronds overhead rattled knowingly as my feet took the familiar path to the sea.  Quiet as a shadow, I passed our neighbor's hut.  A few chickens scolded sleepily.  I heard somebody roll over, their rustle, rustle, snort filtering thinly through the mat wall.  Now I had passed their little cooking hut, and my path took me through a small patch of untamed bush.  This was where the old hale aiku had stood, where the islanders had worshiped their ancestral gods.  Although it was in the center of the village, nobody had built on it.  The ground was still sacred, in spite of the cinder block Anglican church erected beside it.

Finally, I cleared the village and stepped out onto the beach.  Even on this dark night, the sand shone whitely.  The waves beyond undulated to blot out the stars in dark, oily mounds. I was the only soul alive in this midnight land.  

Slowly, I raised my arms in welcome to the cool sea breeze.  And for a moment, as it lifted my hair from my sticky neck and tangled my lava lava around my legs, I forgot myself in the wonder of it all.

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