There's a sign on the way out of the Molokai airport that warns tourists to slow down. Indeed the only place I saw people move fast was in one of the grocery stores where customers and employees crowd the isles, half of them filling their carts, the other half emptying the shelves behind them. The chatter among them reveals relationships are monumentally more important than the transactions going on. Outside you'll find only moseying. One just isn't in a hurry here, and it doesn't matter how much of a hurry you want to impose, the law of the land says you go Molokai speed.
Along the 40 mph highway on the way to our rental the roadside signs told of people who are suspicious of fads that would bring them fame and fortune. They don't want cable, they don't want cruise ships, and many don't want Monsanto that runs an experiment facility on the island. Our condo for the week was on the most unusual piece of property I've ever had the delight to explore. It took us nosing around for a day or so to figure out we were staying in a small part of a bigger dream that contained acres of ocean front property and an abandoned golf course and resort. The leftover cement paths are perfect hiking trails through the overgrown fairways, sand traps and putting greens. Now these paths are used by the wildlife, Axis Deer, wild turkeys and peacocks. And adventuring tourists. Though someone had a grand vision to run a resort, the place is a monument to a local law that defies encroachment and commercialism.
One of the lovely things about this part of the world of course is the sun and the fruit it sustains. As we perused the small farmers market, mostly filled with lovely, persuasive ladies in straw hats and polyester dresses pushing papayas and starfruit, which for some reason we grabbed. Vegetables are rarer and often sold cut up in plastic bags. But if you ask (Jeannie in the library I'm told) someone will give you directions to the island's premiere organic farm. There were no blueberries here shipped in from Connecticut. Here you find only things that are in season, grown on the property. I was absorbed in Barbara Kingsolver's book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle at the time and this kind of buying and eating really struck a cord. You till, you plant a diverse garden, you weed, you water, you tender and you reap the benefits. There are no shortcuts. And there are no greater rewards than choosing to make a small impact on a fragile land and eat the fruits of your effort.
We walked on or climbed over beaches every day. My first day in the ocean I forgot a basic rule and got pummeled by a wave and frosted with sand head to toe. I know you don't try and jump a wave when it's close, but duck underneath it instead. The ocean wins. Period. A cheap lesson on my first day to seal my respect for my surroundings and universal laws of the land.
But perhaps the coolest thing about our vacation was the sun came up, the sun went down, we created a routine of things that made us feel good, we ate the local food because it's the right thing to do, we slowed down and appreciated, we took off our shoes before we went inside, and we honored the culture by following the laws of the land. It was comforting to methodically work our way into a new routine. We slept until we woke, ate breakfast, went out for an adventure, returned and ate lunch, went out for an adventure, saw the sunset and back to the condo and our books and conversation.