Sunset had been chasing our plane for the last few hours, but it finally caught up with us as we made our descent into Honolulu. As we dipped down towards the clouds, the setting sun caught their fluffy tops in a breathtaking pink. Fields of cotton candy. I wanted very badly to whip out my camera phone and capture the sight, but since we had already been instructed to turn off all electrical devices (and I hadn't put the phone on airplane mode anyway), I figured such an act would be frowned upon. Alas.
The most striking feature I've been noticing in my return to Hawaii is not the hot weather, the sight of the ocean and palm trees, or the minority of white people. It's the scents. Even in the baggage claim area, plumeria leis laid around the necks of the new arrivals by loved ones or by tour guides lent the air their strong floral aroma. This is Hawaii. I stepped outside the airport and the air was noticeably sweet--plants are thriving and blooming and producing fruit here, and their mixed smells are everywhere in the humid night. Cold, snowy winter air has its own sort of smell, a crisp cleanness--and the pain that comes from breathing cold air through the nose. There's none of that here. This is Hawaii. In my house, I can still smell all the sweet outdoor floral scents because the windows are always open. Quite the contrast from the dry smell of the heated New England house. The scent of the air here--as long as there's not a moped driving by--is delicious. I am home.