Monday, September 26, 2011

Of Rocks and Fish Gods

Rocks are all around us. We live on island which is in reality an extinct volcano. Definition of volcano: melted rock that turns into hard rock. So it makes sense, I guess, for there to be such a thing as a "rock garden". These rocks are volcanic, black and faded black, full of holes. They eventually erode into the red staining dirt of the island. 

The rock garden I found is a display ancient rocks, which means they were in use in the days of the Hawaiian chiefs and kings, before the land was taken by the U.S. government. 

Pohaku hunaahuula ~ "the hiding place of the chief's 'feather cloak'"

Chief Kukona once hid his colorful feather cloak in the hole under this rock to confuse his enemies during a battle.

 The flatness of the salt pan was used to evaporate sea water, leaving the salt behind.

This large bowl was a sort of ancient punch bowl, used to serve the sedating 'awa drink.

Pohaku Hooikaika ~ "the stone to increase strength"

People used weights in exercise even in the ancient days.

Pohakuloa ~ tall stone - the fish god

This rather tall rock was once worshiped as a fish god. It is strange to see this stone, feel its lifeless rough surface, imagine thinking that this rock could bless your fishing. It doesn't even seem to have a definable shape - it could just be any other rock. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

A Monotonous Beauty

It is a beautiful evening. Mondays are given a bad reputation, but when the sun sinks away and the day is heaving a tired sigh of final rest.... then I can find peace. The clouds blush peach and cream and periwinkle, their reflections in the vast and silent sea giving it the aspect of village-sized pink polka-dots. The forested hillsides which never see winter are filled with the symphonic cacophony of hundreds of roosting birds, chatting up on the day's flight adventures. I watch as a flock of green parrots rush headlong with the wind to join their companions. The birds might be winding down, but the mosquitoes are just waking up, hungry as ever. In one wedge of cloud above me hovers the whisper of a rainbow. It vanishes ounce by ounce back into shapeless vapor.

I feel my worries and concerns grow smaller before this greatness, this world that goes on and on unhindered. 

"Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? ... So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." ~ Matthew 6:26,27,34

What if every minute of the day were like this: golden, peaceful, quiet? What if the sun always sat just on the horizon, shedding across the verdant fields the last rays of warmth? What if?

I suppose the day's work would never get done. We would be tempted to sit and watch all day, resting as if for eternity. And we would be lost in a monotonous beauty.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Under the Weather

Blah. It feels as though the whole island has come down with a sneezy, sniffly, headachey cold. Note to future and hopefully wise self: Never say "I never get sick" because the next morning you're bound to wake up with a sore throat. 

As you can tell, I'm feeling a little under the weather today, and the fact that I feel like a basket of dirty laundry has given me leave to spend most of the day in Africa with Jules Verne. I have also consumed enough honeyed tea to drown a Democrat. 

All complaining aside, today I "happened" to watch this video by the ever-inspiring elmify:

Perfect timing. For a while there I was feeling pretty sorry for myself. So thanks to elmify, I did take that walk, and I did compile that list of things that make me happy. And once I started thinking of all the things I am thankful for, I couldn't seem to stop. Life isn't so bad, after all. God has given me so much - who am I to complain? He is the source of joy, of happiness, of peace.

For lack of a better place, I thought I'd post some of my favorite things here:

I smile just thinking about...

the sea
old-fashioned letter writing
the book of Psalms
early Sunday mornings and lazy Sunday afternoons
The Strawberry Pizza of Doom (with chocolate sauce)
dill-pickle trees
sea foam
the green flash
sailing ships
bonfires on the beach
Chopin's Nocturne in E Flat
geckos chirping on quiet evenings
learning how to really play the guitar
Jane Austen
remembering New England
Friday Friday Friday
the inevitability of pumpkin spice lattes
toe socks
dark dark chocolate
pens that work
black-and-white photography
a general lack of ceilings
playing Jacuzzi
cramped bookstores
long walks
rainy art-museum days
...and finally...
my people - the family and friends that keep me going

If you've been feeling a little bummed out, or even if you're not, make a list of some of the people, places, and things that make you happy. It brings a little bit of perspective to a cloudy day. Be sure to let me know when and where you post your list! DFTBA

Monday, September 5, 2011

Alakai Swamp Trail

Happy Labor Day! We're celebrating the holiday out here by not laboring. I'm spending a lot of time with my family and friends this weekend, but I have a moment right now to write a post. So I thought I'd share a cool hike we did a couple weeks ago. The Alakai Swamp Trail traverses through the interior of the island, exploring the bogs of the swamp. The cool temperatures, the altitude, and strange eerie atmosphere combine to create a hike like none other on the island. 

You start out with this incredible view:

The altitude and cooler temperatures create a good place for hydrangeas to live:

Once you take in the view and the flowers, it's time to get down to business.

Mist and fog are more common than sunshine up there:

Not too far from the trailhead, you reach a forest:

After the trees disappear, you find yourself on a flat boggy swamp. The trail continues on a boardwalk over the unstable ground.

... I call it the Dead Marshes ...

At the end of the trail is a lookout to the other side of the island. We waited a while for the fog to clear up.

Then we could see a little bit of the coastline appear beneath the misty veil.

We had a wonderful time. We got wet, muddy, and tired, but a day on top of the world is worth it. 

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