In self created confinement I dwell, waves
of consciousness crashing onto undisclosed
shorelines, thundering hooves of phantom horses
approaching through the sands of time;

Some might shudder at these contemplative
spaces, interstices of time before necessary
activities seep in to deplete inner resources,
yet how else to manage my own reserves?

It has ever been thus, on this shore
or that, in woods, blended into desert sage,
on this island paradise many yearn for,
and I wonder at life, at the marking of time,
random wandering through dreamscapes
of beauty, illusion teased into being;

Some call it journey, for how else to wrap
and ponder this packaged tour, fractal
in eternity, a never-ending celebration
of sense and sight and touch, carnality
and wits, the wonderment and awe;

And what is temptation if not diversion,
exorcising the terror of un-being, a race
to the finish, dip in the gold-leafed glory
of being alive, alight with threaded hues,
fabric of existence, cover for sorrow
at the temporality we share, and how
to eke out more, squeeze meaning
from the mundane; debts and obligations,
distractions and decisions, the weight
of knowing it will all be plowed asunder
and always too soon, too soon;

I sit with it daily, the quaking subsided,
ride it out in strong limbs while pedaling,
walk in companionship with creation, eyes
wide-open in wonder, capturing with my lens
what might otherwise be missed.

All photos ©2018 Bela Johnson

Bela’s Photographs

Aloha All:

Thought I would let you, my WordPress community know, that by popular request I have created a 2019 Calendar for the upcoming year. Each month features one of my photos taken within 50 miles of our home here on Hawaii Island.

I am so pleased to have found a wonderful printing company on the US Mainland that uses the highest quality heavy photo stock. They will mail the calendars direct to you, saving me postage from Hawaii to anywhere else, which at minimum for one calendar is $14.00. Best to invest in a good product rather than postage, I say.

If you’re pondering what to give yourself or loved ones for the holidays, this is affordable art for the home or office that changes each month and includes inspirational quotes as well. Calendars come in two sizes.

Aloha, and all the best,


Photos used for each month.


Husband Chris featuring January in a surprise photo shoot just after he got home from work 😉 Photo demonstrates the size of the large calendar as well as the various colored backgrounds.

The Reckoning

Aloha Ka Makani O Kohala!
The observant will note this small
hand-painted sign upon entering
the sacred lands of North Kohala,
known generally and simply
as Kohala;

Faded in the relentless sunlight
of that desert region, scrubs
of kiawe punctuate shoreline
un-beleaguered by development
thus far, iron gates buttressed
by lava rock piers encroaching
ever northward, flanked by irrigated
micro landscapes tended to entice
the wealthy to these hallowed shores;

Meanwhile the sign, all but forgotten
with time and tide, ignored by those
fixated on expansive Maui views,
cheap land compared to sister islands,
yet oblivious to Hawaiian words,
why bother translating? Until,
structures set in place, the winds
begin to kick, first the red dirt,
then the butts of those inhabitants
deceived into believing they were safe
somehow from the`āina herself,
turning bitterness into hedgerows,
more walls, spreading outward,
ever outward, fortresses of folly
in a land well known for her mana;

The war against nature escalates,
bankrolls drained into more and richer
landscapes, all foreign to these shores,
and the cost of water begins tapping
reserves of sanity, yet what else to do
but visit rarely, mini-mansions swept
empty by the makani, inhabited more
by a staff of maintenance workers
than the residents themselves,
and perhaps this is as it should be,
even unto their scripture, the last will
be first and the first will be last;

Money can buy things, little else,
and in the end, the`āina and her elements
will prevail; and as the little grass shack
leaps to mind and the simple life
of subsistence increasingly makes sense,
we continue downsizing, simplifying,
reducing our own tiny imprint
on this glorious windswept land.

There is a saying here, mauka to makai, meaning mountain to ocean. It is almost like meaning the whole of the place. For Hawai’i nei was originally allocated into ahupua’a, units of division that provided mountains for hunting, fields for planting, and ocean for fishing. These photos demonstrate how different mauka, or mountain regions, are from makai, the ocean landscape. In Hawai’i, elevation is everything. As always, all photos ©Bela Johnson. Aloha.

After the Storm

So much to contemplate, days
without distraction save the pattering
and drumming of rain and more rain
upon metal roof, wind in absentia
selling short the hurricane;

Time alone in a storm differs
from time alone by intent, the former
leaving one feeling trapped and dodgy,
removing liberty from the equation,
stifling as the heavy wet atmosphere,
leaving one to wonder at illusions,
fascinations, human dramas
of desire and repulsion;

If granted all wishes, a day would
become simply a day, choices not
near equal to the gifts of Creation;
for a time we might languish then
grow fidgety, longing for something
other, even this water seeping
from heavy skies;

If we could fabricate weather, who
or what then to blame when yet new
circumstances beyond our control
creep up to tap us on the shoulder,
prompting questions to the lips,
spinning us round and round
until, exhausted, we finally lean
into surrender?

Social media capture of the highway that intersects our street.
Hapuna Beach as I have never seen it and as few have – no people, just a crescent of white sand.
Body surfers outside Kamana Kitchen cafe in Kona town.
Kohala Mountain Rd. heading toward Mauna Loa volcano and Waimea town.
Mahukona Park lonely tree, so called.
Sunset shot taken from Kapaa Park trail.

~All photos save the first, ©Bela Johnson

Waiting on the Hurricane

The air is still; alternately, the winds gust a bit. Then it pours or does not. Most of the island, if the papers can be believed, is in drought. This is unbelievable to those of us living in North Kohala. We’ve had little but rain most of the year, albeit interspersed with brilliantly clear skies and sunshine. The gardens thrive, and what cannot abide too much water dies. Though that is very little, all in all. I can live with it, not that I have a choice in the matter.

Hawaii is a group of islands considered the most remote inhabited masses of land on the planet. For those of us who love this magical place, that does not faze us in the least. Yet we live in rapidly changing environmental times. Wildfires in the Pacific Northwest can now almost be counted on this time of year. Floods on the east coast continue, as do wild temperature swings. And that’s just the United States. Still, hurricanes are now as they have always been – unpredictable. A few days ago, Hurricane Lane seemed only remotely close to Hawaii Island. Today is a different story. Category 4 (as I wrote this, now a Five) coming our way. And here come torrential rains, though the winds have not picked up too much. And just as suddenly, it’s gone.

We don’t panic. We don’t, heaven help us, even prepare. We’ve lived 15 years of our lives on these islands, witnessed earthquakes (a magnitude Six found its epicenter in our town in ’06 – the furthest from the volcano, or from anyone’s expectations. Yet there you have it.) Leveled a massively tall concrete smokestack from sugar mill days. Slid houses right off their concrete foundations. We’ve watched from Molokai’s west shore as hurricane Iniki hurled destruction at our sister island Kauai. Several hurricanes have come close, but none has made landfall except peripherally with flooding, last time in Kapoho, much of which was only recently inundated with lava.

And so, at least for now, what else to do but wait?

“Our neighborhood.” All photos ©Bela Johnson


The compulsion when an overtaxed
mind, yearning to occupy another’s
rendering of reality twists, knife-like,
between the blades, sabotaging
the creative process, stifling
the necessary tension held
between opposites, that fractional
moment before the water droplet
falls and spreads into the infinite,
protracted in time which in itself
is illusion;

There’s not a thing silence won’t
cure, spreading thin, square
of sweet Irish butter in the warming
pan or rolling thick, lava flowing
over parched earth, a conductor’s
arms bringing down the footlights
at concert’s end;

The ache of pulsing atoms
to ears unfamiliar with its quality
can be deafening, feeling anything
but soothing, instead a thing
to be shunned, avoided as though
life itself could be extinguished
in its company; yet even lacking
familiarity, it occupies the interstices
wedged between the chaos
of everyday living, dwelling in
gaps of glimpsed awareness;

In the beginning and end, it is
to the silence we return, din to
be relinquished in favor
of expansiveness beyond
the mind’s grasping.


One exquisite journey off the grid and into the silence is 4-wheel driving up Parker Ranch’s  Mana Road. We passed no humans for the hour plus that it takes to get to the top where there is a long forest hike. Heaven. Oh, we did see some creatures  though 😉

all photos ©Bela Johnson


When the world is weary of mediocrity
and the doors are flung wide open
to admit the least of us is also worthy,
neither better nor worse but as crucial
to the whole as any other life form;

When we finally attain some sort
of collective maturity, a steady hand
on the wheel of samsara can navigate
through the narrowest channels
of perception into a brilliantly clear
vision with limitless horizons.

all photos ©Bela Johnson


There are those who shun the wind, though I am not one of them. A desert dweller by birth, living in a subtropical environment has me gasping all too often for air, movement of energy, a yearning for fresh. 

Tonight we drove to the end of the road as is often the case after launching balls for Pili pup, stopping to gaze over boundless sea, daily troubles and strife sailing aloft on lilting thermals and out of minds too much with a tumultuous world, despite our remote location in the scheme of it. 

Driving out of the port town of Kawaihae alongside the ocean toward this northernmost region of Kohala, be observant and you might spy a small weatherbeaten hand-painted sign that reads, Aloha kamakani o’Kohala, Welcome, winds of Kohala! Blessed be our clean air and cooler, more temperate climate. This is a place to learn the value of what remains, once all else is swept away on currents of sea and sky. Taking nature’s lead, we loosen the detritus and learn to love the scoured sparsity of a life lived close to the bones of a vibrant landscape.

all photos ©Bela Johnson


And summer has arrived;
just like that, torrential rains
cease, a blazing sun streams down
to the great relief of pineapples
aching to convert starch to sugar,
sweeten and lighten their load,
prickly customers snapped free
from bending stalks;

Giant papayas ripen before the eyes,
bottoms waxing golden signalling
time to gather up before Mejiros’
delicate beaks tap in to suck
the sweet nectar, breaking way
for fruit fly infestation;

Pamplemousse hang heavy on boughs
only recently pruned, year-round
providers if one can wait long
enough after picking for ripening
before yielding up the sweetest
of citrus delights;

The entire yard exudes varieties
of gardenia; Paklan, clove and shower
trees rounding out an olfactory palate
with lavender, oregano and rosemary
undertones, stroll by scented Ixora,
banana shrub, citrus blossoms popping
in a garden of earthly delights;

Meanwhile off we trudge, dogs
in tow, down into Pololu Valley, end
of the road under ten minutes from
our gates, steep bony trail descending
into Ironwoods flanking black lava rock
and sand beach, flowing runoff stream
meandering from lush verdant forest
into boundless turquoise sea.
“Common Gardenia,” which is anything but!

Pink Shower Tree blossomingScented Ixora

Tropical delights: pineapple and a ripening Pamplemousse
We don’t have hummingbirds here, but the tiny Mejiro is a nectar feeder

No papaya under nine inches today!

The incomparable Pololu

~ all photos ©Bela Johnson