Sunday, September 13, 2009
Sealed with a Kiss
This morning I was kissed good morning by a perfect stranger.
Honest to god. I was sitting on a bench watching the surfers, camera poised halfway between my lap and my face when I was startled by someone speaking behind me. I’d been so focused, I hadn’t known anyone was there. I looked quickly behind me and he was right there, over my shoulder.
Are you having a good morning? he was asking.
Yes, I replied, as I jumped up and turned around. In that instant, he moved toward me and planted a kiss right on my cheek. Good morning, he said, either right before or right after the kiss. I can’t remember which exactly.
We introduced ourselves (shouldn't that come before a kiss...?) It turns out I had been taking pictures of his eleven-year-old son surfing. We chatted for a few minutes. I found out he was born and raised on Moloka'i and that he'd just been hit in the neck with his board. He found out I am from Oakland and that I'm a Giant's, not an A's fan.
As he walked away, he turned and yelled over his shoulder, Don’t forget to go to church!
I hollered back, pointing at the ocean, I think this is my church!
He grinned in acquiescence, his body language saying good point, I give! Then a few seconds later, he came running back, wanting to know if my camera was digital and if I could email pictures of his son to him.
No problem… as long as your email address is easy to remember!
LUKE - HOW SWEET IS THAT?
The weird thing is, about the kiss, it didn't feel the slightest bit weird.
Already, I’ve come to expect the pleasantly unexpected here on Moloka’i. Everyday I meet new people. And every day more gifts come my way. I’ve been invited to Yoga, twice a week, Tuesday and Thursday mornings, at a home overlooking the water, walking distance from my condo. The same person who teaches yoga has ordered, that’s right, ordered, for me, all the things that I couldn’t get sent here. Soon, I will have my green drink, agave nectar, and quinoa. Oh, and she also gifted me five papayas from the case she had just received. Her friend wants to take me to her favorite spot on Papohaku Beach, the three-mile-long beach, where there’s a place, all the way to one end, that is calm and clear and that she thinks I’ll love. While we were talking, she showed me the inscription on the bench where we sat overlooking the ocean, and watching her husband surf. Dedicated to her parents, she said, who passed within two years of each other, in 2003 and 2005. She's there often, sitting right with them.
Not only that, but I just got back from having Margaritas (yes, my favorite drink!) at the condo of a couple vacationing here from San Francisco. They’ve kind of taken me “under their wing,” inviting me to hike to one of the west end’s many secluded beaches with them, and wanting to go out to dinner before they leave a week from now.
So, I guess, in some ways, the kiss should come as no surprise. Then, this afternoon, I met five women at the pool, three sisters, an honorary sister, and their 89-year-old mother. One of them, who owns here, overheard me talking to the SF couple about the morning kiss and told me, hey, it’s the aloha greeting. Nothing weird about it.
Just as I thought.
I don’t write about these things lightly. I haven’t even been here two weeks and already I feel taken in and taken care of. It's happening quickly, and with no effort at all on my part. As my spiritual teacher Isaac would say, It happens by itself.
Indeed. It feels very much like grace. And each time, something deep inside me is touched and goes still. Each one a kiss of its own kind.
I have read and I have been told that except for the tiny, private island of Niihau, here, on Moloka'i, Hawaii's ancient spirit - the mana - is the strongest of all the islands. It is the only island that was not conquered, King Kamehameha's ships kept at sea, unable to land because the mana was so strong. I've also been told that Moloka'i either welcomes you or she doesn't. There's not a whole lot in between, and that you'll definitely know one way or the other.
I would never presume to presume, but based on my first days here, I can say, without hesitation, and with great humility and with great-full-ness, that I feel extraordinarily welcomed.
And just this morning, it was sealed with a kiss.
TONIGHT'S SUNSET SKY
If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, that will be enough. ~Peace Pilgrim
Or as they say here in the islands, mahalo...
With aloha, from Moloka'i