I have a fascination with deserts and there is a me, not the me that I am, but the me that I am not who is gaunt, burnished a deep golden brown by the sun, utterly self-sufficient, needing little, reflecting not on theatre history and theory but on the shape of shadows, the angles of light, on the deep places inside the human that are revealed by the punishing landscape and the unrelenting insignificance of one life in the face of the world, the universe. An insignificance that makes each life all the more important.
I am not that me, but that me is me.
I love the smell of autumn. I love the smell of decaying leaves, the air as it nips at your skin with cool breezes and the promise of winter. And while I like looking at a snowy landscape, I am far more in love with the promise of winter than actual winter.
Like cities. The promise of cities is intriguing, sometimes even intoxicating to me. There is a me, not the me that I am, but the me that I am not who thrives to the rhythm of the urban threnody. The crowds the music the chaos the people the darkness the opportunity for sin for adventure for coming face to face with all the glorious freedoms and destructions that we visit upon ourselves in the pursuit of love, desire, peace, fear, need. To sit with the tired and the broken in a subway care or a late night diner. To listen, really listen to the stories that the city has to offer and not flinch. To trade starlight for the bright lights of the big city and the hopes and dreams and comedies and tragedies that make up all those stories. To revel in being cheek-to-jowl with all that humanity has to offer: the food, the art, and the culture as well as the cruelty, the kindness, the desperation, and the glory that we make of ourselves.
I am not, however, that me. But that me is me.
I think, and I am fully aware that I could be projecting another me that is not really me but a me I want to be, but I think that one of the reasons Hawaii in general and Kauai specifically reverberates so strongly with me is that it reflects far more the me that I actually am rather than one I would like to be. The lushness to the land and the sea speaks of plenty. Life relaxes here, it does not fight. The vastness of the sky and the ocean speak of similar recognitions to the desert: you are small, the universe is big, but the islands embrace you even as they show you your insignificance. And then there is the soundtrack of the ocean and the wind and the birds and the waves and the trees and even the people. I want to open myself to those sounds, to the world.
I know that life there is hard for many, I understand that if I were to move there someday, I would struggle to make ends meet and deal with life not a tropical island fantasy of life. I truly do understand that. But I have never lived or visited any other place that holds such strong sway over me. Over, perhaps, all of the varieties of me that live in the shadows or alternate universes. With those others (the desert one, the city one, the Iceland or Alaska one, the married with children one, the working in a record store and giving up ambition one, and there are many more), I can imagine what I would miss if I were that me. With Hawaii . . . I don’t know. Yes, it would not be perfect and yes, I would still need to do the job of being me, of shaping me, of embracing me and all my foibles, issues, desires, struggles, etc.
But I think I could be me. There. In that place, and in a way that I have not managed to discover or make for myself anywhere else. Place matters. I truly believe that. Finding a place to call home won’t solve all my problems like magic, but finding a place to call home could offer me the breathing space to, finally, relax and put my proverbial feet up and take a deep breath and be, more truly, more completely, me.