Feb 14, 2018 Island Hopping in the Pacific
I’ve been island hopping for weeks, Fiji, Vanuatu, and now a small island in the Solomon’s. I am use to the comfort of the water hugging me from all sides nowadays.
Out at the Oravae where we are staying in the Solomon’s we watch from our front porch the early morning commuters. People young and old in their wooden canoes starting their errands for the day. Along with baby black tip reef sharks that lazily swim back to the sand bar that’s out from our bungalow.
Out here is a sterner world with fewer worldly luxuries. You get what you can from the land. You need a basket you weave it out of palm fronds. You need food you fish it or grow it yourself. The stores in town carry few items such as bulk rice, some sweets, and chips. Alexandra remarked that being a vegan is an extravagant lifestyle that would be a lot of work on these islands. The common language is a pigeon English that basically breaks every grammar rule I was ever taught. Some locals have bright orange mouths from the beetle nut they chew with their few remaining teeth. Beetle nut is a drug with an addictive quality from the nicotine in the leaves. It is the beetle nut mixed with a fruit leaf and lime. Lime is not the green fruit that we associate with; it is a coral from the sea that they burn and turn to dust. The combination of these 3 ingredients creates a euphoric chemical buzz for the user.
There is no connection to civilization out here. In the evenings they don’t have TV’s to watch so they spend their evenings singing. They harmonize beautifully and improvise. One guitarist is left-handed and has never owned a left handed guitar so he flipped the guitar upside down and taught himself all the chords upside down. No phone service, no Internet. In this remoteness our time together has been fuller. The Greeks have two ways of measuring time. They call it kairos and chronos.
Kairos is the quality of a moment. These are the moments that give more meaning to life. They are the defining moments in our lives where we can distinctly say I’m no longer the person I am before this moment.
Chronos is the quantity of the moment. It is measured through chronological events, clocks, or years.
At this tucked away spot in the middle of the Pacific Ocean these moments are timeless, carrying all the weight and quality of kairos. We can see the galaxy so clearly. The Milky Way striking its banner through the center of the sky and the cosmos look so full of stars you wonder how they all fit with out hitting each other.
We have done a lot of scuba diving and snorkeling out on these untouched reefs. They are teeming with sea life. It is as if I am in a snow globe that’s been shaken up and the layers of reef life are falling all around me like snowflakes.
It’s a place where I won’t forget the lapping of the water up against our house signaling to us to jump in. The hermit crabs that crawl up through the cracks in the floor – much to the delight of the children – which are then added to our growing community of hermits caged in a metal bowl. We weave our canoe pattern as the locals cut a straight path to and from their marks.
This is not where I belong permanently but like the Greeks measurement of a moment in time it is definitely where I needed to be at this exact point in my life. I needed this island to effortlessly float us through these moments of my children’s childhood. To let me fall asleep in a hammock with Derek. To step away and step into being completely present.