Two nights before I went to Maui, I was sleeping in the Manoa valley—gently dreaming of I know not what. The doors and windows to the apartment were open to catch the cooling summer breeze. I woke from sleep when I heard a man’s voice say, “Hello.” My first thought was that someone had entered the apartment and I didn’t want to open my eyes lest an uninvited visitor present himself. I held still and listened—no other sound—no one breathing. (for I was unconsciously holding my breath) I turned my attention to the open window behind me, knowing that a stone wall was back there, but someone could be standing by the water spigot. Slowly I opened my eyes and looked around the room. No one. Then I turned my head and looked out the window. No one. Then I realized it had been a disembodied voice calling to me from the spirit world. “At least he’s friendly,” I said to myself and went back to sleep, little knowing that a couple days later I would hug the source of that voice. “You need to consider the winds,” he said. “Yes. Great idea. I just finished the book ‘The Wind Gourd of La’amaomao.” Of course—he already knew. I smiled to myself. Thus is the magic of Hawaii manifest.
Saturday, August 21, 2010
I was blessed to walk through the veil and into the Olowalu valley. I had been to the petroglyph site there several times, but to be able to go beyond—up into the valley where Ali'i nui Kalola Pupuka-o-Honokawailani lived--was a dream come true. In days gone by, Olowalu was rich in breadfruit and taro, a place of refuge, and the home of one of what I have begun to call ‘the sacred queens.’
This organization is bringing back the magic of/to the valley. As I walked into the valley, I blessed the new kukui trees on both sides of the road. They are doing well, and it won’t be long until their shade offers relief from the scorching mid-day sun. Olowalu valley still has a running stream—which many valleys do not due to the controversy over water rights and water transportation systems controlled by the sugar barons. OCR has planted taro patches and many native plants in order to return the valley to its once luscious and productive state. As they work, they teach… passing on the knowledge from one generation to the next. It is truly a beautiful thing to see—the large flat leaves of brother taro welcomed me to rub up against it, like family.
As I walked deeper into the valley, the rush of the world fell away. Tall peaks rose on either side, blotting out any noise save the “she’s coming” call of native birds and the gurgling of the stream. The farther I walked back into the valley, the quieter I became inside--until inside and outside were one. To think that my feet were on the same trail as the sacred queens in their flight from Kamehameha after the Battle at Iao… I tried to imagine their flight, how they had climbed up out of the steep valley of Iao, crossed the ridgeline and come down yet another cliff into Olowalu—running for their lives—no doubt crossing the pali in the dead of night. How desperate they must have been! They were fleeing, and I was taking a leisurely stroll. I imagined I could hear the rush as the tall grass brushed their legs, remembering the time I was hiking in upper Palolo and got down on my hands and knees, crawling across the foot-wide precipice because the wind coming up the valley blew me off my feet.
I slipped off the shoes that were killing my feet—not being used to the confines of a closed-toed shoe—and dipped them in Olowalu stream. I bent down and cupped my hand, splashing my face and pouring the cooling water down my back. Then I bent even lower and stuck my head in--fully. I, the Doctor of Divinity, performing the ritual baptism of the self.