Down Where the Trade Winds Play

Down where the trade winds play,
Down where you lose the day…

Sitting poolside one evening while in Florida last week, a breeze blew through the trees that reminded me of the trade winds. Never have I experienced a breeze as wonderful as the trade winds. My first encounter with these glorious winds came in the summer of 2001 when I visited Hawaii. But it was on my second visit, more than four years later, that those winds made a real impression upon me.

I had gone back to Hawaii with some good friends. We stayed in Princeville, on the north shore of Kauai. It love it there because it isn’t overly touristy. At least it wasn’t back in the fall of 2005. We spent a week on the island, where time plays tricks on you, going slow and fast simultaneously. On our last day on the island, my friend had an early flight and I had a late one. I dropped them off at Lihue airport, and then headed back to the resort for a few more hours. My flight wasn’t until 10 pm, but I had to have the rental car back by 6 pm, before they place closed, so I drove back to the airport, returned the car, and checked into my flight some four hours before it was scheduled to depart.

Lihue airport, at the time, had an outdoor area. I found a bench to sit on, and it there, on that bench on my last evening in Hawaii, that the trade winds were blowing. I just started reading a new book, Alan Alda’s Never Have Your Dog Stuffed. I sat on that bench for hours with the trade winds blowing around me, reading Alda’s memoir. It stands out in my memory as one of the most relaxing times I’ve ever had on a vacation.

Twelve years later, I sat poolside on the Gulf Coast of Florida, watching the kids play in the water, and reveling in the breeze that blew from the southeast. These weren’t trade winds. The trade winds blow predominantly from the northeast in the Northern hemisphere, but they reminded me of the trade winds. I commented on this to Kelly several times while we sat there. She has never been to Hawaii, and I tried explaining how this wonderful breeze we were experiencing was what it felt like to be there.

As the wind blew, I could see it form ripples across the surface of the mostly empty (and, for me, too warm) swimming pool. In the water, the rippled surface was the only evidence of the wind. Out of the water, it fired all your senses. You could feel it blow past you. You could smell the scents it carried. You could hear the steady rustle it created among the palm fronds. You could see those tree bow in deference to the wind. I even imagined I could taste the wind.It was delicious!

I was reading Zack Hample’s Watching Baseball Smarter while the wind blew, but only half-heartedly. I watch the kids play in the pool, and tried to do nothing more than enjoy the moment. It was the kids’ spring break that we’d gone to Florida for in the first place. I was still working, remotely from Florida, and this was a nice break after a long workday. It was probably the most relaxing part of the trip for me.