I drift back and forth now between trying to be practical and trying to be free. How come it always seems that the way that brings happiness tends to be seen as reckless or imprudent, while the ways of practicality and logic stifle and disorient? And why is it so hard in this world to be unique and create your own way when everyone wants so badly to be who they were born to be?
Today, we got up early, and took off for the garage sale caravan. In Kona, it is almost like a religious event the way people congregate and gather at yard sales. A weekend ritual of driving around early, getting bargains, moving on to the next place like a literal treasure hunt around the backroads of Hawaii. At first, when I heard about the garage sale exodus, the thought appealed to me as a way to gather gently used items, get to know the area better (by drivng around aimlessly following painted signs!!), and to be a part of this truly interesting cultural experience. The first week I was blown away. "Chris, there is a LINE", I said to him, as we drove up to the first house on our list. There were cars parked along both side of the block and groups of people flocking in. I felt like I needed to run to get in line, or worse, take a number. But the second week, I got the hang of it, and we began arriving early to those sales with the most potential, and hurrying in and out. Oh, and if I find something I might want, hold on tight because someone behind you might pick it up. I found this out early when I was trying to bargain for some bowls, but another woman came up behind me and said, "If she doesn't take them, I will". Well, needless to say, I ended up paying the full marked price, $5 for 3 bowls.
Anyway, here we are on our third Saturday of garage-sale-ing in Hawaii. And I have the first spot picked out. Because of the items described on Craigslist, I could tell it would be a larger sale, and so we drive up 'mauka', or up the mountain to get to the first stop. We have a whole list of 'needed items', but I want to see the one thing that caught my eye from the list. A left-handed koa guitar. I ask the man who seems to be in charge. He hesitates, then says, oh, yeah, the guitar, I forgot it upstairs. shew, still there. He brings it down and puts it in my hands. I don't know how to describe it but it was already humming. He tells me to play it, but I don't know how to play. I strum the chords a few times, running my fingers over the strings. I feel the resonance reverberating into my chest and I know this thing is talking to me. I carry it around for a while. It is much more than I was thinking I would even consider spending on a beginner guitar. It is also much more than I can imagine and I am inspired as a dream of sitting on the beach in the afternoon and playing some notes. Of teaching my son to play guitar and to love music. Of finally wanting to pick up an instrument and play again. So I continue to carry around this koa guitar, wishing I could hear someone else play it so I would know. Wishing I knew anything practical or intelligent about buying a guitar. What the prices should be, what the quality is, what you should look for, what you should ask. All I know are my senses. What I can see with my eyes, feel with my hands, sense with my core. I know I want it but I have no idea what it is worth. I know it is the magical koa wood, the music I saw in my pregnancy, the beautiful vibration of sound and melody and sweetness that it plays. But I don't know if it is smart, I only know it is what my heart is telling me. Now this is a difficult dilemma for a smart girl. Usually you love it when your heart and your head are in a sort of symphony on a subject. Sometimes, however, you can only hear one. Usually, it is easier to hear your head, because there is so much chatter, and so much information to distribute. But the heart does not have so much input sometimes, until it does. And then, I have been taught to know how to listen. And so today, I did. I walked away from that sale beaming from ear to ear carrying my treasure - a gorgeous golden brown koa guitar that I almost couldn't bear to put in the backseat until we got home. I couldn't leave it behind. So, that is how you know. And luckily, I followed that knowing and hopefully if I find out later that the price I paid was not a bargain, hopefully I still will not be discouraged. Because that is not what it is all about. It is about what the heart wants from time to time. And with the heart, there is no doubt. Which brings me back to my initial thought. The logic or the dream. The logic was to save the money for the items on the list. To come back home with hands full of essential items, none of which holds any particular appeal, but all of which would be nice to have. Hangers, for instance, and a second pan, and a mattress and extra pillows. But the guitar won the day.