I grew up in Paris and I believe I know a quite a few things about rain. Rain, I used to think, is a piece of #@&%, meant to ruin everybody's fun. Now I live in Los Angeles and let me tell you, there is something wrong and unnatural about a desert that pretends to be an oasis.
Our palm trees and bright green lawns come at a price. Most of our water comes from 'elsewhere' and you try not to think of what would happen if elsewhere dried up too. Between the water restrictions, the thick pollution, the jammed ten-lane freeways, the shallowness and the butt-ugly architecture, L.A. can put you in a state of permanent mental and physical dehydration. L.A. Stinks, is filled with dumb people and has no soul. (Now for the interesting bit: I feel right at home here.)
In L.A. we take short showers out of mean little water-conserving spouts that are imposed by law when a house is sold and bought. (Or course people cheat and change those faucets, and then live with their guilt -- or absence thereof.) In LA my bathtub is huge so I have to be in the kind of dangerous, period-induced mood even chocolate won't fix to indulge in a bath. My garden is irrigated down to a science with drip system, fancy timers, and I go through the yard weekly checking for leaks because one little problem and a plant can die in a matter of days. In my case, and given that 'guilty' is the natural state I revel in, I agonize over every drop and still feel guilty. Okay... what am I getting at?
I'm getting at the fact that I just spent time in Kauai and I feel washed! I feel replenished. I feel serene and moist and all around energized by that beautiful Hawaiian island. Kauai is all about water, and with water comes life. Within hours of being there I felt human again. My skin and mood softened instantly, my eyes stopped itching. I stopped twitching. My hair frizzed up to a substance resembling the top of an extra foam latte. I put on a bathing suit and forgot all about clothes. That breathless, high-pitched voice in my head suddenly had nothing to say.
I feasted on H2o in ridiculous ways. When I wasn't bobbing on the ocean or floating in the pool, I was taking showers, greedily. Indoor showers, outdoor showers... An outdoor warm shower surrounded with tropical plants with the blue of the ocean and the sky filling your eyes has to be the most luxurious of human experiences. It made me so happy I fantasised constantly about moving there forever. By there I mean precisely under that shower head.
(Another empty beach. It's a treck to get to those hidden Kauai beaches but it makes it so much more interesting and adventurous.)
There is rain on the North side of Kauai that comes and goes. As though some godly hand arbitrarily turned on a faucet. Billowing grey clouds advance with no warning, there is a deluge, but before you finish saying 'what was that?' it's bright blue sky again. Those downpours made me experience the abundance of Earth rather than its scarcity. A nice break from L.A., let me tell you. This connected me with myself in much needed ways.
Voila my Kauai adventure. I feel very, very lucky to have had this experience. We stayed at a friend's guest house. The estate was not to be believed. Every corner was lush beauty. The memories of all this beauty and water will carry me, I hope, through all the dry patches and ugliness of the year to come. Not to be negative, but something tells me that the next few months will not be a picnic.