Cranky in Hawaii? Tree Yourself/Free Yourself

Yeah, this tree's big, but you shoulda seen the one that got away

Yeah, this tree’s big, but you shoulda seen the one that got away

Who’s got the skills to be cranky, virtually anywhere? Paris, Bali—maybe even in Hawaii, in those isles of warm, fragrant breezes and aloha? Yeah, baby. I can become pettily petulant, no matter what cushion of clouds. Not that trivial confessions might be of use to you, but that their lessons can have an impact on your writing.

The stage: I’ll be house-sitting at the very tippy-top of the Big Island with my girlfriend for the next month. It is not ugly here. If you’ve spent much time in Hawaii, you know it’s like having a mild massage (those tropical trade winds exchange strain for ease) at all times. Add in some rum, and it’s hard to even muster a credible curse about the government.

But because we just arrived, and had to get some clue as to where we were, what was there, and how to get to other promising theres, the fact that we got stuck with a clunker of an under-the-table car rental (one that threatened to leave us in-between theres without ever starting again) was a blood-pressure pumper.

So we had to jaunt over from the northern nape of the island to Hilo, across the magic mountains to the east. And then fuss at length over the oft-confusing details of where to meet to exchange the car, which car to get in exchange and when—details that changed multiple times over the course of a couple of hours. So instead of being happy in Hilo, with its beautiful bay and good people-watching, we were sweaty, frustrated and most un-Hawaiian.

Enter Banyan, Stage Center
However, small-minded humans are no match for nature. Waiting for our dithering car-rental person to finally show up at one of the multiple times/places we were supposed to meet her, we saw across the way from us a big public park, with astonishing trees. One of them is the “geeez, how big will I be when I really grow up” banyan tree pictured above. Under it we sat. Applied those tropical warm breezes in its sweet shade. Breathed.

Oooh, good medicine. That fixed it—really. The wait for our rental didn’t seem like a big deal anymore; neither did the fact that we had to roll back over those mountains—fantastic views!—on the dazzling Saddle Road without having much chance to stop, because we had to return home to free our house-sit dog from its crate, before it could phone its owner about our abuse.

Get to the Writing Already
This is a lesson I already know, but because my mind is a damp, leaky thing, I forget: when your brain is boiling with internal argument and naysaying, take it outside. When I am frustrated with my writing work, clutching the keyboard all the tighter has never worked. You can squeeze a sentence’s throat so hard that no emergency syntax attendants can ever revive it.

Take the writing for a walk. Find a banyan tree. Heck, if you’re not in Hawaii, a nice oak will do. Plunk your bottom down and rock in the arms of some sweet breeze. Cranky in Hawaii (or in Poughkeepsie) no more. Finding a way out of your writing is the best way I know to find your way back in. (That is, until I forget again.)

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6 thoughts on “Cranky in Hawaii? Tree Yourself/Free Yourself

  1. Sue and I have started walking every single morning, rain or shine. (And, eventually, snow wind hail or shine.) Only up to 1km per day, but it’s every single day, and we’re outside (there’s this outside thing I’ve heard of, and when I go there, it’s amazing.)

    As you know, I too can find the dark cloud in any silver lining. Every day, I try to express my appreciation aloud for this, that, and the other thing. I brush off at least one annoyance, look it in the eye and brush it off as if it didn’t matter. (What were these annoyances? I do not know. They’re gone gone gone every one.)

    I want to see the Polynesian cultural center in Hawaii, and pay homage to Thor Heyerdahl, who taught me that even scientists can be iconoclasts, outcasts, madmen — and find joy and peace, no in spite of it, but because of it.

    Big hulloos to you and yours from me and mine.

  2. Joel, that outside thing does have some eye-candy (and often mind-candy) appeal, doesn’t it? And you’re so right about the gratitude thing—another way of looking at the world that I know, but I forget too often. So I’m grateful to you for knocking on my noggin again.

    Old Thor was rightly named, wasn’t he? And back at you on the hulloos.

  3. Madge, rarely does one come across a comment that rings so right, so true, and so splendidly non-sequiturish. Thank you for its breadth, depth and split ends.

  4. “Plunk your bottom down and rock in the arms of some sweet breeze.”

    An intriguing bit of advice. Does it have to be under a tree? I’m picturing being on a hike, finding a lovely vista and a big boulder, then plunking down.

    Also, I concur with Madge.

  5. Annie, you can always carry a large house plant with you, so that whenever you plunk down, your plant can be plunked as well. Big boulders are so much harder to carry.

    I think a meeting between Madge and you would be a delight—she shares some zany sensibilities with you. And plunkings.

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