Sunday, September 6, 2009

Be Still My Heart... I'm in Heaven After All

This morning it smells like rain. And everything, the trade winds, the birds, the air itself, is quieter. The sky is mostly gray. The air a little cooler.

I hope it does rain. I love rain no matter where I am, but nowhere more than in the islands. The warmth, the sound, the feel of it, how fresh and new everything is afterward. And of course, the possibility of a rainbow.

I’ve been in places on other islands where it rains off and on every single day, and where rainbows are plentiful. Here, on the west side of Moloka’i, rain is rarer, especially right now, during their “dry” season. Therefore so are rainbows. I think back on my first morning here and the amazing rainbow that greeted me and I can’t help but feel it was personal, sent just for me, when I was in need. It's not the first time I've felt that way with serendipitous happenings. In old Hawaii, a rainbow was considered an “auspicious symbol from divine beings.” An old Hawaiian chant goes: “Hina came down from heaven, Her way was by the rainbow.” Hina is the goddess of the moon and mother of Moloka’i.

The mother. Of Moloka'i.

The mother herself come to greet me. It gives me chills, right now, thinking about it, and I realize I have a taste once again - lost in the challenges and heartache of the past year - of the magic and mysticism that can be so present in life. Those who know of my years and years of reading and studying about the goddess will see that truly, it appears I've come to the right place.

(Thanks to Angela & Cameron Kepler's book Majestic Molokai for the information about rainbows and Hina)

* * * * *

Yesterday, on the way to town and the farmer’s market, I crested a hill and what I saw made my spirit soar. Tall, dark and stark mountains shimmered in the distance; behind them, a row of puffy white and gray clouds; the sparkling blue ocean lay calm beside them; and across the channel, seemingly a stone’s throw away, floated the island of Lana’i. And off to her left, Maui.

I got it, on a cellular level, after four days here, that I am, in fact, in my beloved Hawaii.

Once in town, the spirit of Moloka’i, and the sense of community that I’ve read about were everywhere, beginning with the sweet, sweet (and very contagious) smiles of the old women selling mangoes, papaya, lemon-lines, bananas, avacado, fresh ginger, onions, chilis.



I talked with local artists and shopkeepers, one who told me that I wasn't in Moloka'i because I chose Moloka'i, but because God chose ME for Moloka'i. Though my beliefs don't run in the direction of the one-he-god-with-a-capital-G-up-there-in-heaven, I have to admit that the sentiment had a nice ring. Everyone I've talked to has wanted to know why I am here. I tell them. Their compassion and empathy are palpable and even more, they all agree, every single one of them, that I've come to the perfect - the only - place to heal.

Though the fire is out, the smell of fresh char is crisp in the air. Driving in, I saw how it had marched right up to the highway, but hadn't crossed it. How it had burned circles around structures and around the sweet little local plumeria farm, not because it was a clever circle-burning fire, but because of the hard work by all who responded. As I walked to my car after shopping and exploring the town, I saw on the front of one of the buildings a long, hand-painted sign thanking everyone who had come to their aid. What an awesome sense of community.


Driving back toward the west end, in the clunker of a car that I'm actually coming to enjoy, the wind blowing through the open windows the only music, I realized I had a smile on my face. It's been so long since that has happened, months and months, probably more than a year since there's been anything spontaneously there except a mirror of the sadness that's been my constant companion. I looked to the right, and saw that what had looked on the first day like a dry, barren, inhospitable moonscape was actually something of beauty, a gorgeous mosaic of color. With the red rock and dirt, all the shades of yellow and green, the shadows from the clouds, and the ocean, waiting my return, it was in a word, breathtaking.


It's all about the lens through which we see. Something's shifted in my lens, and it's changed everything.

With aloha, from Moloka'i

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