When it comes to sleep patterns, I have two modes in my life. Assignment mode, when I get up long before the sun to catch the sweet light of the first rays of dawn, and everything else mode, when I prefer to let the day start at a decidedly more leisurely rate paced by a cup of tea and a few pages of the Wall Street Journal. When my alarm woke me at 4:15am today it took a snooze cycle to change gears from everything else mode into assignment mode. As oxygen rich cells blood cells began to pump to my bleary brain, I could feel the excitement build – I was heading to Mo`omomi!
Mo`omomi preserve sits on a pristine part of the north west shore of the island of Molokai and aside from harboring an abundance of endangered plants, it affords a feast of a view along the famous sea cliffs that Saint Damien hiked so many times to tirelessly serve the Kalaupapa leper colony. As we bumped down the dirt road to the preserve in our four wheel drive vehicles, the first rays of the dawn reveal ominous rainclouds hanging over the ocean that are slowly being pushed on shore by an incessant wind. The cars arrive, and we pile out into the cold breezy salty sea air to stake out a spot for our tripods along the coast. The drive had not been long, but a combination of general lack of sleep over the past week, a strong chance of rain and a stiff cold onshore salty sea wind made me start second guessing my decision to get up this morning. Cosmically, the universe answered this thought when I reached into my camera bag and took out my small Panasonic point and shoot. Displayed in large block letters on the back of its screen were 8 words: MODE DIAL IS NOT IN THE PROPER POSITION It was as if this little electronic device had been tasked to tell me to get on task! And get on task I did! After getting lost to the beauty of the sunrise surrounded by sand dunes and sea foam, I began looking around at my students and fellow teachers. All their eyes spoke as one with the simple joy of having found an excuse to witness a show that happens in all its spectacular glory every morning whether there is someone to witness it or not. Its moments like these that pluck a guilt string in my heart for ever switching out of assignment mode and missing all the good sunrises – but I know that if I ever get to far off course, my little panasonic will let me know that my mode dial is not in the proper position, and with the flip of a button I will be reminded that I have the greatest job in the world.
Click below to listen to a short clip of Rikki talking about what turns my head and pre-verbal reactions to subjects.