Waiting For The Wave

Waiting for the Wave

One house is sold. One house is bought. The two are 1,100 miles apart. The gap seems, currently, to be as vast as any ocean; an ocean that is swelling with ebbs and flows of detritus both physical and emotional and as great as any tsunami could generate.

The tsunami analogy is purposeful and deliberate on my part as I have a bit of personal history with a big wave or two. In March of 2012 we were on holiday in the town of Kihei, on the island of Maui when the giant Fukushima earthquake shocked Japan to its knees. We watched in horror as the live shots of the tsunami’s carnage played across the TV screens around the world not really thinking about the fact that we were on a tiny island in the mid-Pacific not all that far distant from the devastation we were seeing unfold. As we drove back to our resort, skirting the warm moonlit waters that surrounded us, we began to think about tsunamis, their reach and their power. This was a massive quake, thousands were dying as we leisurely motored back to our comfortable rooms in paradise. Being the seasoned travelers that we are and having lived in California for decades we discussed the idea of packing a “go bag”…… just in case.

We were starting to sort out the necessaries as CNN kept up a continual dirge of death and destruction that visually reinforced our actions minute by minute until……the Tsunami Sirens on the island started to wail. Our complacency vanished as quickly as the quiet. We were there with a suitcase or two and we could get the hell out of dodge with not too much thought at all. And so we threw the zories and the tanktops into the bags and flew to the cars and started driving up. Up to higher ground, away from the littoral that our rooms rested on and in search of safety, safety from what we did not know as yet.

The radio was now engulfed in emergency activation channels broadcasting continually where the Red Cross would be, where shelters were being setup and communication services would be in place to notify family and friends on the mainland. This became serious, quickly.

We found our way to the nearest evacuation center, a huge parking lot next to a school off the Pukalani Hwy and arranged our cars and staked out our space. The lot filled to overflowing within what seemed like moments, some 10,000 people we were to discover later. We set up our beach chairs in the medians, propped up an umbrella even though it was 10pm and did what all seasoned travellers in Paradise do during emergencies, self-imposed or otherwise, we opened the cooler and made splashy guava/rum drinks……..and then we waited.

Now the science of tsunamis, like science overall, has improved to the point of near perfection. The waves that were generated across the ocean in Japan had been calculated and corrected for distance and drift and we were told that the first waves (tsunamis come in pulses of waves that last for hours) would arrive on the Hawaiian beaches at 3:06am. Amazing.

And so now, our bags packed and stowed, our bodies exhausted yet enthralled at the adventure, and our psyches cautiously optimistic but tinged with an undercurrent of not exactly fear but apprehension, we had nothing to do but wait.

Wait for the Wave to begin and see what the sunrise would bring.

Back to the present, 4 years later exactly, and we have uprooted our house and home, deliberately this time, and find ourselves in the same sort of purgatory-like pause as we wait for the wave of the future to begin its pulsations. The boxes are mostly packed, the movers are all hired. The paperwork is complete and the schedules and planning are put to paper.

We have nothing to do for the next 10 days but clean up loose ends and say goodbye to the life and the loves we have had for the last 8 years here in Portland. Nothing to do but wait. The next adventure is yet to unfold and the last is yet to be complete. Everything is different but nothing has changed….yet. Just as waiting for the real tsunami, our emotions are frayed, our bodies are fatigued, and our emotions are fraught with the unknown. It will all be fine, in the end, but the waiting is almost unbearable.

And so we wait. We wait for the Wave.

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