Saturday, September 20, 2008

HAWAII, Black Sand Beach

We have come to a black sand beach merely because the sand here is black. The sand is black. Not just dark, but particles of what was black rock. It’s just like any other beach in Hawaii except for this quirk which seems somehow wrong. Is it my imagination, or is the sand more gritty, like walking on a bed of nails? Anyway, I have a grass mat to sit on and spread out my paints.
A little girl comes over and asks what I am painting. I point out the water, the sky, and the promontory in front of me. She looks, carefully, comments on the colors. I begin talking with her as I mix. "What color should I make the sand?" "Black," she says, quite reasonably. "Ah, but what kind of black? It looks orangey in the sun, and blue-ish in the shade, see?" I mix the colors, and ask how she likes it. "I think it needs more red." And she is right.
She chatters and helps the whole time I am painting. She lives in Hawaii. She has never been off the island in a plane or a boat. It’s good to live in Hawaii. She lives with her mother, and her dad lives next door. She goes to a charter school. Every week her class goes on a field trip. Next week they are going to some fabric place to get fabric so they can make bags. She is petite and bright-eyed, and her lashes curl tight against her eyelids. I am enchanted.
Her brother joins us. He is smaller and has reddish hair. He watches, wide-eyed, as she keeps up her chatter. Two more kids join us. I have become a travelling circus. I put away my painting, and sketch on demand, a fish, a star, some rainbows. As I give them away, I explain about how to hold them to not get paint on them, wishing for watercolors. The kids dance away with the paintings. I have been given a gift.

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