And so it begins. Shafts of light steal through dawn’s dark mantle, pierced first and only by birdsong. Slate grey skies erupt overhead onto a landscape perpetually in need of their offering.
Through stillness, the distant drone of a two-lane highway portends the start of day for resort workers, bound for some of the most magnificent real estate on Hawaii island. Massive lava landscapes crushed to gravel and blanketed with loam, sod and tropical foliage. Classic structures poured upon pristine waterfront. Guarded bays safe to swim in the normal chop of the channel. Those who hail from generations of warriors and plantation workers may as well enjoy it – as they tool around in electric carts, surveying, maintaining, planting, shuttling jumbles of guests. Others of us must pass the gatekeeper, denied access when the beach lot is filled (or at the gatekeeper’s whim). Thus the resort has final say on who enters their well staked out spotless stretch of sand. Laws be damned, this is wild country, for better or for worse depending on how one views it. Money and influence are particularly powerful here, yet the drive to live and let live, the spirit of Aloha, remains alive and well.
Our community of North Kohala is unique. Locals of all ethnic persuasions roam the streets and canyons, nodding and smiling in greeting to sometimes-baffled tourists. City dwellers scratch heads in confusion that anyone would take time to heartily relate in the space of the day, in the midst of nature or hamlet. They have learned that sharing is not to be trusted; suspect others of motives ulterior. Reading about us fails to register deeply in the cortex and the automatic response at first blush is still to turn away. Feign disinterest, disregard, disengagement. I used to find this offensive until I understood it better, being one of those people who gives without guile and curse the consequences. For anywhere in the world there is beauty, folks will ever be drawn to the peace of that place.
Heaven is where we find it, though sometimes it’s easier to believe we’re part of the painting while ensconced in Nature’s palette. The soul-soothing quality of feet in sand insidiously heals grief, separation from Our Mother the Earth. The caress of tropical air envelops the bereft, filling lungs and longing in equal measure. That which we yearn for is always around us somewhere. We have only to watch, wait and listen for it to make itself known, calming the rising tide of panic in these and other times, past and future.