Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Be Careful What You Ask For

This morning I was greeted by the most magnificent rainbow I’ve ever seen. It was early, probably just after seven, and I’d walked at first light to find the elusive beach. It was raining lightly when I took off my sandals and stepped for the first time onto Moloka’i sand. I walked for a while, enjoying the colors; the tender early morning blue of the sky against the rich, deeper hue of the ocean, the pure, lacy white of the breaking waves, the soft, smooth tan of the beach itself. I found the perfect rock where I could sit and lean and stretch out my legs. I looked up, and there it was, just beginning to form right in front of me. Misty, elusive at first, yet arcing delicately across a full quarter of the sky. One end was anchored in the center of the dark lava cliffs off to the left, the other fell straight into the water what seemed like miles out in the sea. It grew bolder as I watched, the colors intensifying, so strong that they were mirrored in the surface of the water. Pink, purple, aqua, yellow, red. When I thought it couldn’t get any more beautiful, a second one formed, just on top of it. Though not as strong, it, too, was complete from one end to the other. Not just Wow, but Double Wow.

Like others before me, I hoped it was a sign. Not as in pot of gold or end of the biblical flood, but more like, okay, Debby, maybe this is going to work out okay after all. For the disappointments had begun to build before I even landed on Moloka’i, when I recognized the west end of the island (where I'll be living) as we flew over it in our little Island Air plane. Truly barren, more cracked and parched than I ever thought an island could be (surrounded by water, right…?), I felt my heart sink even as the plane descended toward the airport. After that, the disenchantments piled high on top of each another: few food choices at the very tiny grocery; the awful, rusted out, smoke-filled $20-a-day junker of a car that I recognized immediately would make the long trips into town hot, dry, miserable, and best avoided; no cell phone reception when I got lost and couldn't find the place; then culminating in the realization that in spite of what the owner had told me, the beach was no where to be seen from anywhere in the complex (five-minute walk, really…?), and no, I could not hear the surf from the condo. Big disappointment right there, enough to make me want to cry and head back home, as I had fully expected to be lulled to sleep each night by the sound of waves crashing to shore. One of my most favorite sounds.


Not only that, I’d landed in the middle of the biggest wildfire they have had here in over two decades. Still smoldering, the smell of smoke filling the air, helicopters taking off and landing in the middle of town, what foliage there was charred and blackened for acres and acres (though fortunately, as of yesterday, contained, and not the horror show it could have been had the firefighters not been able to stop it right at the edge of town). (And yes, for the record, I do realize that this is a far worse problem for Moloka'i and its residents and wildlife than for little 'ole me, just stopping in for three months). And on top of everything else, when I went online last night to order the rest of my supplies, I found that much of what I thought I would be able to order and have shipped here—my daily green health drink, my decaf green tea, my agave nectar, herbs, spices—none of it shippable to the islands.

Even in the midst of running the litany of all that I was going to have to live without, and in tandem with the heavy-hearted wondering if I hadn’t made a huge mistake, it was not lost on me that maybe, just maybe, I was—am—in fact, getting exactly what I asked for. On so many levels, big and small, too many to write about right now, though I’m sure they’ll come up over the course. Great and high spiritual teaching: How do you know the right thing is happening? Because it is happening. It's a mantra I repeat again and again.

My sister reminded me that I don’t in fact know why I am here. And it’s true. I know why I think I’m here, to retreat, rest, recoup. But the mystique of it all runs so much deeper. We never really know anything for sure. We are myopic, only seeing what we can see, and not the bigger, wider, full screen version of our lives. Similar to how we can only see the very tip of an iceberg, and not the bulk of it, which lies beneath the water, unobservable, unknown, shrouded in mystery.

Moloka’i is not the Hawaii I fell in love with. That’s clear already, and I’m not going to pretend otherwise. But three months is a long time. I’m here, and open, now that yesterday’s disappointments have been washed away by a good night’s sleep and an incredible show of nature--oh, and the plumeria tree I unknowingly walked beneath, that stopped me dead in my tracks with its heavenly scent. I know there’s something for me here or I wouldn’t be here. It’s as simple, as gracious as that.

Now I think I'll finish lunch and head out to the pool. Ahhhh... Too bad it means putting on a bathing suit... ;)

By the way, pics will be coming soon. I wanted to see it with just my own eyes this morning, without the compulsion to bring the camera constantly to my face, seeing it purely, simply.

With aloha, from Moloka'i...

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