We’ve been fortunate enough to take a holiday from the hard Canadian winter and escaped to Maui , along with groups of spring break tourists with kids of all ages in tow, tiny children splashing bravely through aqua waves, to pouty teens glued to their cell phones. I felt blissful in Hawaii. My Alberta-straight hair curled with the soft humidly. My skin glowed (or perspired), turning light brown – where it wasn’t glowing red.
We jumped waves, lay on the beach and drank by the pool – and our drinks always had little umbrellas in them beside the chunk of pineapple – it was part of the holiday. As I walked along the tropical landscape I picked up plumeria blossoms and held them under my nose, trying to hold the luscious sweet scent in my memory. I took photos of the red ti leaves and of the even brighter ruby-colored torch ginger. I aimed my camera at the startling orange tulip tree and below it at a brilliant yellow hibiscus, and even at the comical pineapples dropping off a palm tree during a hard gust of wind. I wore sandals and breezy skirts and bathing suit tops – I had purposely left behind any gray and black summer clothes – those too often being the colours of my winter wardrobe.
I never forgot that I was in vacation land – not my own land. With the time change we arrived back home in Calgary midmorning. We didn’t say much as the taxi drove us passed what is still, despite my hopeful fantasy otherwise, a gray, white, and beige landscape. While my husband tried to deal with his jet leg, I slipped my brown bare feet back into a pair of winter boots, as there were still small heaps of snow outside and I walked the garden – the way gardeners do in the spring. I forgot the huge Hawaiian leaves and dazzling tropical blossoms and looked so carefully, pushing at the soil with a stick until I found the tiny red-tipped tulip leaves struggling through the firm soil, then further along a clump of round fresh leaves of an early columbine plant reaching for the sun, and finally – spiky deeper green shoots of a chive, as well as a young strawberry plant in the corner of the vegetable garden.
My tropical holiday was like a trip to Atlantis – mystical in its abundance of showy displays of blo0ms. But home again, I have no choice but to wait patiently for colourful floral and fauna. I can only anticipate the blanket of snowy pink apple blossoms, the crimson hollyhocks waving on long stems, a scattering of midnight blue cornflowers, or my magnificent rose-hued double poppies springing up somewhere new. I promise myself to appreciate them more than ever when they come, to marvel not just at their beauty and grace, but at their hardy fortitude.