I have heard people say they don’t go to Hawaii because it is too built up, too touristy, too crowded. Those things can be true, but in my experience Maui is still full of beauty and wonder, a little island magic waiting around each corner-as long as you choose to have your eyes open.
On my arrival, I was told it hadn’t rained upcountry for 4 months. There was a severe drought and water restrictions were in place. The land was parched and dry, so many of the plants and trees either dead or hibernating. About a week into my stay…
And Buddha smiled.
One evening I went for a sunset walk with a friend. The path led through an old, abandoned cane field and was littered with the detritus of careless people. But when we got to the bluffs, the heaving, restless ocean stretched out as far as the eye could see, the sun glowed rose and peach as it began to set, and then, something I had never seen before! It appeared to be a rainbow waterfall tumbling out of the sky into the ocean. We danced around laughing and pointing, delighted as children.
An old friend from the canoe club I used to paddle with, took me out early one morning. There is always something so special about being out on the water first thing in the morning, while the water is calm, the winds haven’t picked up, and all the people are still in bed. We paddled along in a companionable silence when the surface of the water started to tremble. I looked with curiosity and then delight as a school of flying fish launched out of the water all around us. They were so close, I could see their round, unblinking eyes and hear the whir of their fin-wings. It happened so suddenly there was no time to capture a photo so this one is from the internet.
After our paddle, I was ravenous and ambled over to Paia to get an acai bowl. I sat outside under the shade of an enormous tree covered in creeping vines, and used the railing as my table. I was thoroughly absorbed in enjoying the crunch of the granola, the tang of the acai, the golden chunks of pineapple, and the sweet drizzle of manuka honey, when I saw motion on the railing out of the corner of my eye. It was a tiny Gold Dust Gecko. He looked at me appraisingly head cocked, eyes rimmed in blue eyeliner. I was judged a non-threat and he ambled closer to lick up a sweet spill from a previous patron. Sweet tooth sated, he suddenly sprang forward off his miniature suction cup toes and ate an ant. What an efficient little custodian. He was less than a foot away from me and the way he looked at me, I got the distinct impression he was asking permission to pass. I leaned back and gave him space. He marched right in between me and my bowl and onwards down the railing, in his funny little c-curve gecko walk. It was such a tiny, but delightful moment.
I was perusing the spa shop after a massage when I saw a tincture called Kupono. It was said to be made of “The Seaweed of Forgiveness”. It was used amongst the Hawaiians who were quarreling with one another and was said to also absorb toxins to restore spiritual, mental, and physical harmony to one’s body and environment. I decided to buy it and go to the summit of the volcano Haleakala one evening. I suppose there is no science or evidence for this but it seemed to me that the top of a volcano must be a powerful place. Such powers of creation and destruction. I wondered if it was sacred to the Hawaiians. It must have been. I had been holding on to some old hurts and grudges and felt like it was time to let go. I arrived a bit before sunset, walked around, and scoped out my spot, a little depression in the hillside that was slightly blocked from the cold wind. I watched the sun set and disappear beneath the ocean of fog that filled the valley below. I blessed the people from my past who had hurt me, took my tincture, and set them free from any psycological debts they owed me. I wanted to let go of these things and open the door to new things in my life. Once I felt “done”, I stood and stretched and as I turned, I gasped. The moon rise was even more beautiful than the sunset had been. I hadn’t realized it was a full moon. I got in the car and started to drive down the mountain, feeling hopeful and happy for the future, pondering what it all might mean, when there was a sudden streak of light that shot across the sky. A shooting star! I laughed out loud. What a grand finale to a special, special evening. If ever there was a sign…
There have been so many magical, wonderful moments. A friend sent me this quote the other day and I feel it says it perfectly.
“We are showered everyday with the gifts of the Earth. Gifts we have neither earned nor paid for: air to breathe, nurturing rain, black soil, berries, and honeybees…a bag of rice, and the exuberance of a field of goldenrod and asters in full bloom. Gratitude is the most powerful response to the Earth because it provides an opening to reciprocity, to the act of giving back, to living in a way that the Earth will be grateful for us.” Robin Wall Kimmerer
A Hui Ho