November 27, 2003

The crickets here are sometimes so insistent they sound like a lightbulb just before it pops into darkness.

I want a book on local geology, one on the plants, one on the birds and one more on folk tales. Or maybe one that covers all those and traces how they weave in and out of each other. This place is so radically different from anywhere else I've been, mostly, I'm guessing, because it's such a small island, and it's so far away from anything else.

Ian has the language bug and wants to learn the local pidgin. The house came with a book on learning Hawaiian. With all the vowels and apostrophes, it's almost impossible to tell where one word stops and another begins. I've always thought of myself as a language person, but maybe I gravitate toward European languages; I enjoy seeing how they're all related and rediscovering what a hodgepodge English really is. I don't remember feeling quite this intimidated by German. Hawaiian only has a dozen or so letters - I can't tell if that's a comfort or a source of fear.

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