Editor’s Page: Get Out and Play

The importance of summer.

Summer feels like it’s time to go out and play. Even here in Hawaii, where we enjoy some version of an endless summer, the days are longer, the ocean seems bluer, the mountains greener, and the outside beckons to us more than ever.

With August upon us, as the last of the schools return to regular classes here in Honolulu, we’ve got one more chance to play before commuter routines return, and then the holidays start to unfurl.

Our childhood experiences shape our expectations of summer. (And the school schedule: I’m convinced they socialized us all wrong by giving us so much time off for summer vacation and then expecting us to work through this time when we’re adults.) When I was growing up, summer meant a chance to read lots of books for fun, to get in the ocean more often, to grill and eat outside, and to fly to the Big Island’s Hāmākua Coast to spend time with relatives in Honokaa.

I confess that formula still lets me know it’s truly summer. With the fine sand of Kailua Beach between my toes, I am more ready to believe that the issues of the day will sort themselves out. Similarly, going back to the house where my mother’s family of seven children were all born somehow centers me, too. There’s something about being in a town where it’s difficult to go more than 50 yards without running into a relative. Since our family spent most of the first decade of my life roaming the world because of my dad’s Army career, the instant intimacy of that plantation town bewitched me more completely.

I’ll never forget 10-year-old me trailing my big brother up to the counter of the old Dairy Queen and having the woman at the counter take one look and identify me by my mother’s family name. (Of course, my mother would also offer the counterpoint argument that people in a small town can be far too interested in what other people are doing than is truly healthy, but that’s another story.)

Nonetheless, we both loved to return there for visits, to our large extended family and to immerse ourselves in whatever they happened to be doing. Once I am there, I feel myself blend into the rhythm of a place that’s familiar and exotic at the same time.

I got the chance to feel that again, recently, as my youngest spent a chunk of this summer old-school-style, surrounded by cousins. We spent more time outside, driving to do chores, picking bananas, guava, avocado, mountain apple, hiking a mauka trail or making the steep-but-familiar four-wheel-drive descent into Waipio Valley.

This month at our office, we’ve been focused on a variety of ways to connect with the outdoors, even for those whose idea of roughing it is dining al fresco. We hunted for something that might appeal to all of our readers in “Get Out: 23 Outdoor Adventures to Enjoy Now.”  And senior editor David Thompson takes us to explore the depths of a very-familiar Oahu waterway in “It Came From the Ala Wai.”

We also share our 12th Annual Private School Guide. This has usually appeared in our September issue, but we’ve moved up publication by a month to provide more time for parents exploring options for their children’s education. Associate editor Katrina Valcourt examines “The Gender Equation,” a fascinating look at some of the different ways that male and female students learn.

Whether your idea of getting out is a lunchtime stroll, paddling across your favorite bay or hiking to a spectacular view, may you find just the right escape soon.

What are some of your favorite small-kid-time summer memories? Email me at robbied@honolulumagazine.com.