As unbelievable as it may seem, we just returned from Maui.
This most recent trip to the Hawaiian islands was for continuing medical education for Alistair.
For me it was a much-needed break from my rough start to the new year.
I was able to leave 4 feet of snow, ice-covered decks and roads, my scarf-glove-toque-jacket-leggings-snow pants-boots outfit, wood piles, wood stoves, a limping barn kitty and a house without Harry behind as I smelled the Hawaiian air and felt the sun on my bare skin.
It didn’t matter that our plane was 2 hours late.
It didn’t matter that I lost Alistair at the airport after picking up our rental car because I was watching a feral airport kitty cross the road.
I lost him for over 20 minutes and finally texted him, “Where are you?”
I mean, where can a guy with 2 huge suitcases and 2 full golf club travel cases and a knapsack go at Kahului airport at close to midnight????
(It turned out he was sitting right by where a cute feral cat had just crossed the road…) (Ooooops…)
Apparently I brought some other baggage along on the trip only it wasn’t something I had packed.
It was all neatly tucked away in my over-active subconscious just teasing me with mild distraction, waiting for the opportunity to leap to the forefront of my life.
Like the leaping Humpback whales we got to see up close and personal on a whale-watching tour with Captain Steve and 20 of our closest new friends.
The whale tour was magnificent.
We were right on the water in a zodiac watching a mother whale teach her calf how to breach.
The whales return to the warm, shallow waters between Maui and her neighboring islands of Lanai and Molokai every winter to calve and mate before journeying back up to Alaska.
It is something to behold, particularly when the whales were putting on a show like they did for us.
After Mama and her calf left we had a pod of males chasing a female, hurling their massive bodies out of the water all around us.
That was our second morning there.
The morning after my subconscious did its thing.
I had slept really well that night, after a day in the sun and on the Bay Course playing a round with Alistair.
It had been a bit weird when we found out we were playing with strangers.
More so when ‘Denise’ was kicking all of our asses with her long drives, pars and birdies.
After 7 strokes I picked up my ball on the 1st hole.
The 2nd didn’t go much better.
But I breathed and I relaxed and I laughed and we all got lost in our parade of golf carts (following Denise!!!) and I felt some Aloha wash over me and nothing mattered because we were on a sunny island in the middle of the Pacific.
And then I played golf.
Denise later fessed up to being the Kansas state ladies golf champ 7 years running after learning to play from her professional golfer father at the age of 3.
I didn’t feel so bad after that.
We played 2 more rounds, including one on the famed Plantation Course where the PGA had just wrapped up the Tournament of Champions.
We played alone on the enormous, undulating, grueling course.
Which was great when we found a ton of golf balls embedded in the ground on the 5th fairway!
How to make a Scotsman and a Doukhobor happy!
Rejuvenated, relaxed, expecting to play with others and humbled by the Plantation Course a few days prior, we hit the Bay Course in our fancy new duds one more time the day before we left.
We played with ‘Matt’ from Chicago and the 3 of us were very well matched in golf play and colorful language.
And all of this was maybe more enjoyable because I had got rid of my mental baggage that 2nd night in our hotel room when I thought I had slept so well.
When we woke up before going on the whale watching tour Alistair asked me, “Do you remember anything from last night?”
That’s not a question a sleepwalker wants to hear.
A sleepwalker whose most recent wanderings led to the closing of her clinic and a new approach to her mental, physical and emotional health 2 years ago.
Alistair had woken up around 2am to a steady knocking at the door.
And I wasn’t in bed.
Or in the bathroom.
He cautiously answered the door to find me blankly staring at him from the resort hallway.
Did I mention I was naked?
In the hallway of the Ritz.
There is such a feeling of loss (of time, memory) and of being cheated (by myself!) after I learn I’ve slept walked.
And of course the wondering… where did I go? Did I meet people? I’m sure they were nice to me because I was naked but seriously, how long was I gone and what did I do?
But that is all a part of who I am and the journey I’m on and how I learn about myself and how I handle things like stress.
So we laughed.
What else can you do?
One of the reasons we enjoy the Hawaiian islands and the spirit of Aloha so much is because our lives on ranches with animals in 2 different states is challenging at times.
Hawaii is a real escape where we can play golf in January and watch whales and wear shorts and sandals and have bare skin and eat incredible seafood and hike coastal paths and play with sea urchins and look up at a dormant volcano on a clear day.
Its also where I can get a mean mai tai just about anywhere and that also is a key to my affection for Hawaii.
Now its back to the snow and Casey’s floppy laryngeal fold and a barn kitty who isn’t limping and blind Loki pin-balling her way around the house and frost in the mornings and a second book to write and frozen mahi mahi to cook.
I love this adventure I’m on.