Thoughts in Kona

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My favorite kinds of beaches are the ones that make you feel like you’re at the edge of the world.

Growing up in California, I’ve seen my fair share of beaches. I’ve sought shelter from the merciless winds of Half Moon Bay, and I collected sand dollars from San Francisco’s Ocean Beach. I’ve started bonfires at Seabright, been kissed at Santa Monica, and got tar from an oil spill unpleasantly stuck between my toes in Santa Barbara. Then, during summers spent in the Philippines, I’ve held bundles of sea stars and collected a kaleidoscope of tiny, intricate shells. I’ve gone stargazing on a Davenport cliff while the ocean roared beneath me, and I’ve had oysters and beer in Rosarito, and I’ve burned under the Mediterranean sun in the sand in Barcelona.

But out of all of them, there are only a few beaches that make you feel like the ocean is going to lap you up at any second and pull you in by the ankles, peacefully washing you away from the face of the earth like you never existed. The edge of the world.

I was born at a shift between seasons.

There were many times in August where I would jolt myself from sleep in a panic, not from a nightmare, but from the fleeting anxiety that would greet me within moments of waking up. My body felt a change in the air — the inescapable passing of time. In those moments, I’d feel the kind of panic you’d experience from, say, missing a train by seconds and helplessly watching it leave you behind.

Here, at the edge of 22, I am comforted knowing that some things never change even as time goes on. The sun will always rise and set. On any Hawaiian island, underneath the hum of tourism and development, you feel the throb of something ancient, infinite. This is land where people have walked for thousands of years, and the land won’t let you forget it. When you look out at the ocean, you can almost picture the people who came first in their canoes. The Ocean and Time, the two great equalizers. Be it the year 400 or 2018, the ocean will treat you the same.

The sunsets in Kona, the western coast of Hawaii’s Big Island, are famous for their beauty. Like everything else in Hawaii, they are also achingly slow. The sun teases you like a lover, like a whore who never gets tired of her job, because she knows you won’t look away. You stay for the whole show that you feel the sun is putting on just for you.

Where do you find infinity?

It’s here, standing on a rock, letting the ocean lap gently over your feet as the wild sun dips leisurely into the Pacific horizon.

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