Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Kayaking the Wailua River

I hope you all are doing well, especially those of you on the East Coast! Out here in the middle of the Pacific, the sea is calm and peaceful, and the images of the Atlantic during Hurricane Irene come as quite a contrast. I pray you and yours are safe and dry.

We've been stuffing August with as many adventures as we can before the collapse of summer results in busier schedules and less free time. One thing we knew we wanted to do was kayak up the Wailua River. Imagine a sunny blue day with a quiet lazy river stretching out before you. No rush. Worries are pushed aside. With a paddle in your hands and nothing but water around you, the day stands still as you go upsteam into the secluded valley fringed with jungle.

Since I was in a kayak myself, I wasn't able to take many pictures of the kayaking part, but I was able to capture the waterfall.

One of the river branches led to a water hole complete with a rope swing and a convenient cliff ledge.

The other branch of the river led to a trail that took us to Secret Falls.

We swam out to the not-so-secret falls, the water pelting our heads like hail.

The shade was cool and green on our hike back to the kayaks. From there we kayaked back down the river and stowed our paddles to wait for our next adventure.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Friendships (Not Quite) Forgotten

The day has slipped away from me completely. I have no idea what Today was at all, because I have been dwelling in the Past for most of it. It was about time, I know. Time to dig out all the scraps of girlhood. To remember what I've almost forgotten and then to release the memories to the grave of time. 

Some part of me has always had a hard time letting things go. I want to cling to what was once important, not letting go of even the smallest memory. I used to save movie ticket stubs, needles from Christmas trees, shells from the beach (of course). One evidence of my love of memory is the large cardboard box full of letters in my garage. And not only letters, but invitations, bulletins, programs. Paper memories. But it's time to let go of the Past. To sort through the 12 shoe/stationery boxes stuffed to the brim with friendships. I'm almost halfway done, but the going is slow. I can't bear to throw away anything unless I've read it one last time. But it is hard to say goodbye, I suppose, and I am keeping some of the letters. Deciding which ones stay and which ones go is difficult. 

I lived in the mountains of Colorado most of my teenage years, hours away from my friends, and somehow I became a pen pal addict. Writing letters was the only way I could communicate with my friends during the week (I'm allergic to telephones), and over the years, the paper built up. For some reason, I've carried it with me through all my moves so far. 

Reading the letters has brought back a lot of memories. Some of these friends I am still close to, and some not so much anymore, and I wonder if they knew how much their letters meant to me. Those were the days when we traded stickers, when we mailed games of hangman back and forth. Each of my friends had her own idiosyncrasies and her own penmanship. We copied each other a lot, I think, but still we managed to find our own styles. Some of my friends wrote to me of books, others of music. One friend I've lost touch with now spoke of "the new band N'Sync" and trying out to be an extra on a WB show like Dawson's Creek. Another friend always listed the current Janette Oke book she was reading (she probably read about twenty). There were little discussions of politics we heard from our parents, excitement over church picnics and sleepovers, requests for prayer. One theme that keeps coming up in some of the letters is Lord of the Rings. I think we were more than a little obsessed with elves and hobbits at the time (and if we're honest, some of us still are).

It seems a little silly to call ten years ago "the good old days", but that's what they feel like now. All of us have moved on, moved around. Many of us have gotten married and have kids now. For the most part, we've given in to the technology of the age, and the letters are fewer and farther apart. We grew up, I guess. All the same, it feels good to go back in time, at least for a moment. To remember all those years of hopes and dreams and fears, and see how many of them came about.

To all my friends of the past, not quite forgotten: know that you have helped me become myself today. You have taught me the truth of faithfulness, of friendship, of love. And as I say goodbye to some of your letters, I am not saying goodbye to you. A few fragile scraps of paper cannot change the past that I hold in my heart.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Be Still and Know

"Be still, and know that I am God." ~ Psalm 46:10

These words keep blowing in an out of my thoughts. When I wake to the green-gold of a new day. When I find myself caught beneath an ocean of sky, perched on a mountain above the sea. When I feel the cloak of darkness fall on the twinkling lights of the distant hillsides. Not always the words, but the meaning of them.

  Be still. 
Rush rush rushing is the life that sweeps on by the crusty shore where I find myself sitting dry-footed. Sometimes I think I'm on the wrong side of the river, and if only I could be brave enough to dive into the tumultuous surge of the current, perhaps I could reach the other shore. Intense is the silence, full of passion unreleased, poetry unspoken. I want to run around in circles screaming my head off, but instead I must be silent. I must be still.

And know.
I am humbled. Undeserving of the life I have (the love of family, the faithfulness of friends, the constancy of music, the companion of the sea), I crave more. I am full, but I think I am empty. What more do I need? I walk away from the confusion; I feel the breeze on my worried face; I wonder at the order of this beautiful world when all I can see is chaos; and I know that He is God. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Plantation Days Parade

One of our local towns celebrates a week of Plantation Days every summer. The history of the island community is remembered with nature walks, outdoor movies, a rodeo, and family events. The biggest to-do is the culminating Plantation Days Parade which marches through the old part of town. The whole community comes out into the Saturday sunshine. Truck beds and trailers are decorated as make-shift floats with ti leaves and flowers. Shiny old cars are showcased all in a line. And of course, there are a lot of horses, recalling the old days of the paniolo, or Hawaiian cowboy. Times have changed here in Hawaii. The days of the plantations are over, replaced with the overpowering growth of tourism. People here like to remember the simpler days, when the sugar plantations were still running, when the world didn't have any stoplights. 

the veterans were driving these tiny cars for no apparent reason...

barefoot is rather trendy here...


apparently, this is supposed to recall an image of Captain Cook...

Hawaiian Italian...

a grass skirt has to be the most uncomfortable outfit for riding...

ATV tours take you back into the rugged "wilderness"

always respect to the firefighters...

I'm curious as to how long this sign has been here. The bridge itself seems about to collapse.

an ancient Ford...

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Wailua Falls

You'd think that living on an island would eventually get old, that the number of new places to visit is limited. To an extent this is true. With the highest speed limit being 50 mph and the longest drive being 2 hours, our world is quite small. Still, this doesn't mean that adventures and new discoveries are impossible. Sometimes you just have to look a little harder.

I've been driving by a sign pointing to a waterfall for years now, and I realized recently that I've never actually followed  it. It's been there in front of my face the whole time, and not once have I turned off the main road to explore. So recently I had a little extra time after teaching, and I found myself soaring up a winding road into the green green hills in search of a little adventure. 

A few miles and a couple of shouted-out-loud Decemberists songs later, I came to the dead end where tourists and their shiny cars were collected in a cramped parking lot. There were a couple of locals weaving hats out of palm leaves, and many were the visitors with their cameras. The flurried rush of heavy waters floated across the air, drawing me to the overlook.

A few steps away was one of the most impressive waterfalls I have ever seen (and living in Hawaii, I've seen quite a few). The whitewater of Wailua Falls surges off a cliff of eighty feet into a round pool at the bottom of the valley. It is said that the ancient Hawaiians would jump off this waterfall to prove their manhood, and I wonder how often they proved their death as well. 

It didn't take me long to realize that a better view could be seen from standing on top of the protective wall. From there, I could see the whole prospect from a birds'-eye view. The incessant downfall of water, the peace of the pool, the incredible greenery in all directions. Elegant tropicbirds danced above the mist, gliding through the rainbows. They seemed in no rush to go anywhere; they were perfectly happy flying around in circles above the waterfall and trees. It was a lovely afternoon to be a tropicbird, peacefully floating along
 without a care in the world.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Seaside Horses

Thank you for all of your support during the HubPages contest! Even though my article didn't win, it was chosen for Hub of the Day this past Sunday. I had a lot of fun participating and hearing from new readers. Without readers, what's the point of writing? I appreciate all of my readers here and always love to read your comments - thank you :)

My photos have been stacking up, and I was going to stuff them into one post, but changed my mind. I'm feeling a little wordless anyhow, so I'll just let the photos speak for themselves. 

I met a few new friends recently. They live in a large hillside pasture overlooking a 180 degree view of the sea.  

These beautiful horses of Hawaii are reddish from the dirt, and they love to eat the buffalo grass that grows on the other side of the fence.

I was very excited to see the new foals with their spindly legs and fuzzy coats.

Like most little girls, I was once obsessed with horses. Marguerite Henry books filled my shelves, and I had a complete stable of miniature horses that I regularly exercised on the carpeted track. I think a bit of that horse-love is still hidden somewhere inside me, because something makes me want to hug every horse I see.

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