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A windy walk stirs senses of wonder


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POSTED: Thursday, April 16, 2009

About 6 on a cold January morning, I turned on the TV to check the weather. While waiting for it to come on, I intermittently hit the mute button to listen for the wind and peeked outside checking for rain. Through the last 24 hours there had been a significant storm passing through our island, with the strongest winds, reportedly yet to come. We have lived in Kaneohe for nearly 30 years, so strong and gusty winds are familiar to us.

While putting on my walking shoes the weather report hadn't changed much since the night before and it wasn't raining so out the door I went.

I am a disciplined person, or as my daughters see it, "crazy." If walking is on my agenda for the day, I am going to walk. I was determined that neither wind nor rain would stop me.

As I rounded the corner from my cul-de-sac to the main road, there was an eerie calmness, yet excitement in the air. Still dark, the street lights illuminated the wet sidewalk, and I knew I would have to pay closer attention to my steps. I immediately saw a large tree branch down on the sidewalk blocking my path. I stood there for a second wondering if I was disciplined or crazy to be walking with such unpredictable weather conditions looming.

My 20-year-old daughter had jumped out of a plane for the first time just weeks before. Certainly if she could jump into the sky, I could walk in windy stormy weather conditions, and so on I continued.

I didn't see the usual walkers, or the diligent dog walkers. No birds chirping. The dogs that routinely bark when I pass their houses were quiet. As I walked up the hill along Souza's Dairy, the winds really kicked up and a fleeting feeling of fear rushed through me as I looked at the swaying electrical lines above. I thought to myself, "Oh, I didn't think about this when I contemplated my walk." So, asking my guiding light for protection, I continued on.

As I conquered the steepest hill of my walk that really gets my heart pumping, I turned the corner to the best part of the walk: downhill! I looked at the sky, with the half moon peeking out from the dark gloomy clouds still refusing to give way to the morning. The Koolau Mountains, unmoved by the forceful winds, were so beautiful with the moonlight highlighting their sovereignty; I had to stop for a moment just to take in this beauty.

The palm trees were swaying so forcefully from the wind, they looked like the fluttering wings of angels. I couldn't help but raise my arms to the sky, dancing with them for a moment as the wind cooled my body. I can now see why songwriters have written about swaying palm trees. They look just as beautiful swaying in a storm, as they do in the Hawaiian sunlight.

I made it home safe and sound that morning and the high winds that were predicted for the day dissipated.

Though I am not and may never jump out of an airplane, I am grateful that I took a chance to walk on this beautiful stormy morning. What a walk to remember.