Dear Mom: Part Four

I am at peace. I feel serene as I cast my gaze at the pure Hawaiian turquoise water, smooth as glass for as far as the eye can see. It's a sense of peace that usually comes after a week of yoga camp or doing something where I am so spent that I cannot feel anything but relaxed. And that's about as rare as a steak that I would never touch.

This kind of peace is lovely and real and feels so right. Is it love? How does one explain it because I am far, far away from Rob... he isn't even on my radar screen... he's 3,000 miles away doing his thing while I do mine. Hmmm... what does this mean? Might I truly be in love? Do I hear the birds singing louder? Am I experienced the colors of Hawaii in more vivid terms? I have to laugh at myself. I am so confused about my feelings and my future and need you and your wisdom! A girl never stops needed her mother!

I have chosen to spend the morning whale watching and since Honolulu's Atlantis Cruises offer morning and lunchtime tours that leave from Aloha Tower, I opted for the morning tour that skims the coast, but goes out pretty far looking for the humpbacks that come down from Alaska to have their babies and cavort in the 75 degree waters.


Rob and I had seen the blue whales off the coast of South America cavorting with sheer joy and I had hoped to see more whales in an effort to sort out my feelings for him. This was the real reason, truth be told, that I had come out to the sea -- to think about him, try to sort out my thoughts for him and our future and to see the whales, of course.

What I am trying to sort out, Mom, is this: Do I fly solo, or in this case, swim solo (as a long-distance swimmer!) from here on out and accept that I can have a love interest, or go full tilt into the land of hand-holding and into the sunset with someone for the rest of my life? It's so easy when you're post 20 and so tough when you are post 50.

After you went to heaven, I was humming along, doing my thing, completely and utterly independent and happy in my singleness and singlehood. So, what happened? I fell in love... with the man who spotted the blue whales in the sea for me. Now I sit precariously perched on a metal storage case with Dad's former binoculars and wow! These binos are spectacular! I used them at the Judy Collins concert yesterday. I can see the horizon line perfectly, as though it were 10 feet away!


And as I stare hard at that horizon line, I also see a magnificent 50-foot humpback come breaching out, straight up and out of the water, like a fire hydrant that just broke loose, and wham, up it comes, straight up and then over with a splash that looks more tsunami than whale splash. How exhilarating! OMG! It is doing it again! Is this the same whale? Yes, it must be, as it is predominantly black and aren't they usually rather grey? Oh, Mom! Can you look down from heaven and see these whales? What a force of nature they are! They are magnificent! Their flukes are the size of a car and their bodies are the size of a swimming pool!

As our boat closes the distances between us and the horizon line, a pod of humpbacks comes close, and it's apparent that they are as curious about us as we are about them. Three beautiful creatures come to our side -- mommy and baby comprise two of the three and the 15 or so watchers near me audibly inhale, "AAAHHH!" Maybe the third whale is a dad or an aunt. Did you know that only the males make the whale song? My point is that they are a family. I have been single for a long time, Mom, and I am used to my quietude and my solitude which works well for my quiet life as a writer. What about Rob? He likes to come over and breach like the whale! He is all over my place, making messes and being a man!


Do I keep this whale or give him back to the sea, Mom? Please tell me. I really want to know. It's not like I am 20 and have all the time in the world. Yes, I love him, but do I love him enough to give up my freedom, my independence, my ability to come and go and travel as I like in order to be at his side, giving him the attention he needs and craves? Men are needy, Mom. They want and need our female attention. Do I really want that? At this point? I am financially secure. And he is supportive of my hopes and dreams. He is sweet and loving and a regular guy and you have to love that. Plus, I think you would really love him. I think that Dad would, too!

Can you give me a sign of some sort? The whale just breached again. Was that the sign? Researchers think that the breaching is either the males strutting their stuff or an effort to get the barnacles to release. Big difference. Kind of like staying single or riding into the sunset with Rob. Please advise. Your loving daughter,



Photos by Patricia Rust

Photo of Patricia by Vonda Piersol