Paradise By the Dashboard Light
A former client once quipped that expectations are like premeditated resentments. I can’t help but notice what a recurring theme this is in my own life.
When I was young and living in the foothills of the San Gabriel mountains, the biggest treat for me was when Dad would wake us up at four in the morning to load up the boat and/or car in readiness to experience wilderness. Whether on land or sea, plunging into the wide-open always swelled my heart to overflowing with a sense of meaning, of purpose in Being. And yet our father was a paradoxical man: if any of us seven made a false step, even unwittingly as children do, the trip was canceled. Time and again I resented the gods for placing me in a family that stymied my sense of impending joy. I ached for the kind parental images captured in the television box – white compliment to my black existence.
In retrospect and after having journeyed almost sixty years into this life, it is clearly a paramount lesson to release expectations and enjoy life as it comes instead of trying to bend conditions to my will. In doing this, I am often pleasantly surprised by the spectacular. Before I possessed hindsight, I did not realize that my spirit was in training. For in order to fully participate in the here and now, I cannot be delving into the precipitate of my past nor flitting about in an unknown future.
And so it is that I venture out in Paradise without prediction or conjecture – striving to remain in the present moment while allowing for the possibility of what might present itself – while not attaching myself firmly to how that might play out. And it is here, in the interstices of space and time, that I often experience more magic than the average bear.
Journal: Sunday, January 29, 2012: We head out from our home on the north shore of Hawaii Island to Waimea town’s Mana Road. This bumpy four-wheel drive road is accessible courtesy of Parker Ranch, one of the country’s largest working cattle ranches. One of us drives while the other jumps out to let dogs ramble and/or to open the various gates chained to rein in livestock. The first leg of the road is often laced with fog:
This misty collection of gentle slopes nestle around the base of the great Mauna Kea’s back-side. Visitors must keep reminding themselves that they are indeed in Hawaii, but residents originating from the mainland’s wooded areas seek respite in these hills. Just before the next gate, we encounter these lovely creatures:
Finally we arrive at the crest of the road and enter the forest. One of the first sights that jumps into view is this stand of bluish eucalyptus seedlings, christened by the light of day to show off an unusual hue:
The subtle interplay of light and shadow is always most apparent to me at this juncture in the trail:
And although we care for three dogs, the only one we brought with us from Maine is Chudleigh the chocolate Lab. Originally from near Maine’s Canadian border, he always rocks out with pure bliss when his feet hit the forest floor:
Anyone disputing the Sacred has only to enter this grove of trees to know It to their bones. (And for those who are very astute, there is a spirit face in the lower left quadrant of the photo.)
With just a dite of imagination, anybody can see face(s) in the bark, just below:
Walking slowly in a forest gives a person time to marvel at what lies above as well as below:
Leaving the forest, and I wish I could show you more, we head onto that gnarly red road – down the slopes toward an eventual meeting with the Saddle Road and the National Park’s entrance to Mauna Kea’s summit. I think to myself, Wow. Another amazing trek through one of the most beautiful places on earth. It’s strange though – we haven’t seen any owls or turkeys or geese or wild boar like we usually do up here – though we did hear some pigs screaming. Oh, well – I’m content to have experienced the beauty of this place, once again. And on we go …
One of the many sights along this stretch of road are the dinosaur bones of old cast-off machinery. What I least expect to present beauty, does. And then my husband points his finger at the Pueo, circling an adjacent field. These are the Hawaiian day-flying owls which we often see while on this road, and we are not disappointed:
Then as if the heavens themselves open up and cast mana to the weary, wild turkeys begin to cluster, here and there:
It takes effort to suspend disbelief as, walking right up close to our truck, two wild boar piglets stand and pose for their portrait – then scurry back in the underbrush to their mother:
Sinking once again into the shrouded mists surrounding the base of the mountain like a Hawaiian version of Avalon, magical island of my Celtic heritage, we have touched the arcane and it is enough.
This is one of the last vistas we behold before hitting the tarmac, once again. Saddle Road, here we come! But if it is endings we are expecting, Madame Pele, Goddess of fiery volcanoes, holds yet more in store. This small cinder cone volcano lies beyond the outer limits of Waimea town – reminding me of the old television series The Outer Limits as much as anything ever could. Completely unretouched in the light of the setting sun:
Returning to civilization is a gentle thing when views such as these bathe eyes in wonder:
Waimea town lies still in the days’ waning light, as I glance backward in a bid of farewell to the magical Mauna Kea …
This parting shot brings to mind lyrics from an old ‘eighties tune: Thought it’s cold and lonely in the deep dark night, I can see Paradise by the dashboard light … A hui ho. Until we meet again …