When I was growing up, our family had an all-time record of 13 cats at one time. Outdoor cats. Since then, I’ve had a lot of pet cats, and never have I seen a cat slumber and sleep with his foot on his head. I think he’s been looking over my shoulder while I watch my yoga video.
I finished high school in Hawaii and lived there a dozen years. Oahu made such a big, sunny impression on me at 16, I will forever call it home. I try to get back every year or so. Here are some of my favorite images from last visit.
Rocky beach Haleiwa side as a kamaaina would say. You won’t find any garbage cans on the beaches on Oahu. A few in the parks, yes, up on the concrete pathways. Rooted in the sand, every so many feet, like the beach in Santa Monica? No. Before the days of iPods and headsets, sunning on a California beach meant you were going to be subjected to someone else’s radio station. Not on Oahu. iPod or not, if you know where to go, your neighbor’s towel is not going to be within earshot.
Times Market, Kahala. When was the last time a grocery store inspired you to lift your camera to shoot? Walking in a local grocery on Oahu is a perpetual holiday into an exotic plant nursery: torch ginger in red and pink, the hynotic perfume of tuberose blossoms crowded and bursting on a stem. These live gems that go for $5-$6 in the city, stand in water waiting to be taken home for a buck or less. Local-grown papaya, mango, sweet pineapples, guava, passion fruit, and baby bananas. The best fresh fish you can conjure, octopus salad, and ahi poki. Seaweed salad, lau lau, and lomi salmon. Ahhh, broke da mouth!
In one modest building, you have the best fresh food and floral staples of Japantown, Chinatown, Filipino town, Portuguese town, and every other culture that has set foot in the islands to sit down with Hawaiians and call the islands home. Born and raised in the south, I understand food as the centerpiece of life, love, and hospitality. In Hawaii I found a second home. One of the many reasons is because, like the south, the cultural place occupied by food—with its inherent hospitality—is smack dab in the middle of everything, summed up in the Hawaiian language in one word: aloha.
I grew up on the rainy side of Oahu in Kaneohe, so I never think twice about a cloudy sky. The weather stays warm when it rains and half the time the sun beams down simultaneously with the rain. The rainfalls are generally short and sweet and the percussive symphony of rain drops pelleting banana leaves as the birds sing, well, this music always ends a bit too soon.
How’s this highway scenery? No matter which way you’re headed, the view’s pretty good on the Kalanianaole Highway. I lived in Hawaii Kai for a year and commuted to work at the Coast Guard Station tucked up against the crater in Kaneohe. I had to drive the opposite direction of every one else along the stretch of this highway that goes through Waimanalo. At 7:30 in the morning, the sun shines in silver peaks on the water, the sandy beaches are uninhabited except for an occasional lingering fisherman, and the silence of the early morning empty road sways to the faint rustle of the ocean’s breeze.
I went to high school with serious surfers. They got up early to go surfing in the dark before school. It was the 70s, surfers wore braids that touched their waists. On a typical Saturday morning, I slipped into my bikini, hoped into my Mom’s 1967 Mustang and, towel in tow, I hit the coast road for North Shore. Ten o’clock in the morning and the radio is blasting my favorite song by Canned Heat: Goin’ up to country, got to get away . . .
I had just finished having lunch at Haleiwa Joe’s, walked out past the roosters in the road and came upon this wonderful woodie. I asked the owner what the year and model were, but now I don’t remember what he told me. I think he said 1950-something. If you know anything about this beauty, please tell me! Ah, the endless summer joys of North Shore Oahu.
Yep, gliding out from Port Clyde, Maine, on my way to Monhegan Island this view made me hum Mr. Otis Redding’s hit song. It was a mellow, overcast day and my stomach was full of buttery Maine seafood from the Dip Net Restaurant on the water. I boarded the ferry headed for the island of no cars where pets run free.
I love the old Colt firearms factory in Hartford, Connecticut. It’s been deserted for decades now, but ever so slowly gentrification is happening nearby. (It’s famous onion dome is featured in an earlier post.) There were birds meandering around the roof ledge on this overcast day and I was thrilled to get this clean shot of one flying away. Old broken windows and brick, rusty metal staircases, roofing and building stones . . . what more could a woman with camera ask for?
Luckily I had my camera hanging on my chair while I was eating lunch. Outside, my son and I were used to the little birds all around us on the concrete floor picking at bits of food fallen from the tables. Next thing we knew we had a visitor standing on the wall that kept us separated from the sand. I slowly slipped my camera from its case and began shooting. Our guest could have cared less. He was used to hanging with people. It’s a good thing, too, because the shot before this one had lots of random people clutter and our guest was monitoring all of it. In a moment, everyone vacated the scene inside my frame and the shorebird looked me right in my camera eye.
I know what he really wanted. My fries. Looking me in the eye so he could decide exactly when he might hop on the table, he was aiming for a close look at what we had ordered for lunch. He clocked our every move and stayed until we finished eating. We got up and he was standing in the same place on the wall, ready for a mad dash before the bus boy got to it first.
I was hanging out in Great Barrington MA last spring and shot this image of the sun lighting a shock of hair and a young woman’s profile. I love the wisps caught by the sun in the upper left corner! And the shape of what’s not in shadow . . . Somehow the camera captures so much more than what my naked eye can process.
Louie has new chew toys! He jumps on the table after Christmas Eve dinner and goes for the live centerpiece. See his ears turned back? That’s because I’m scolding him, telling him in my not-nice voice to get down. Does he care? Only enough to put his ears in low gear.
Next photo is this morning, Christmas Day. Louie has been playing tether ball with the ornaments. He hides under the tree. Chews its “branches”, too. So many new chew toys! The best part of Christmas for Louie, along with the much-needed nap after so much excitement.
After his nap, Louie wakes to play with the tree ornaments again. The sun has gone down and everything’s even more exciting in the dark!