Mechanical Vision Restored

I fully cleaned the battery and its casing and once again made an attempt to charge it. I’m not sure what was wrong, whether some short caused the battery to empty, or dust on the contact failed to let it conduct electricity, but my camera is working again! To celebrate, I promise you a wealth of images from the past couple weeks, and perhaps a few stories.

The first news, though, comes from Sunday evening, when I believed myself without a camera, so you will have to do with phone-pics.

My aunt and uncle had eventually replied to my email concerning the sad news, and that helped a lot with the dread of not knowing their response. When they came home Saturday, they reassured us that sometimes these things happen. We’d heard about a floating lantern ceremony on Sunday, put on by North Hawaii Hospice, down at the Mauna Lani resort, and decided it would be a good way to remember Gilbert.

The lantern glowed like birdsong.Drums were played, a woman chanted in Hawaiin, and we all sang “Aloha ʻOe” as we carried the decorated lanterns down to the lagoon.

Last night, we buried the frozen bird, digging a hole at the back of the house near mature growth, where future residents were unlikely to dig holes to plant things. The family had made a list of good things about Gilbert, following the Judith Viorst’s (think Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day) book The Tenth Good Thing about Barney, though our list came to 25. I enjoyed sharing in the memories of antics I’d observed, as well as stories I hadn’t been around for. We buried him with his beloved oven mitt, his last cuttle fish, and a fresh branch of millet.

My aunt and uncle left for dinner and we made plans to drive up to the Mauna Kea to the visitor’s center to see the stars with a friend. We’re almost ready to go and three head out to the car, the last following and–seeing no keys on the hook-assumes the others have the keys, locking the door behind them. It turns out, finally, that my aunt and uncle had each taken a set and we’ll have to wait until they get back to go. I take the opportunity to make some Bird’s English drinking custard, replacing bad feelings with a long awaited treat, and Lang draws me while I stir the milk.

We finally get to the spot just in time for a peek in the amateur telescopes before they were put away for the night. It’s icy cold, and I’m glad for all the clothes my cousin accumulated during the last year doing research in Germany. Once the volunteers are gone, I’m happy to pull out the hot liquid, along with fresh strawberries from the farmer’s market that afternoon. We lay in the parking lot at 9,200 feet and drank in the sky, gasping at the brightest shooting stars; silently relishing the thing trails of small ones that perhaps only we had seen.

Under the wide, all-seeing sky, we talked about moments when we’d felt our worst; cruel teasing as children, bitter roots we allowed to grow between friends, the loss of our humanness we struggle with at times. Confessing these things under such a canopy we felt at once the infinite and the intimate nature of relationships, the scale of our selves in the universe.


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