Monday, March 26, 2012

No Ka 'Oi

Aloha kakahiaka, good morning, a very good morning, from Kauai. One thing about getting up at 5 am with the Kauai roosters is that you get to watch the morning roll in from the sea. As I stumble in the darkness trying to prepare my camera for the sun rise, not really knowing when that would happen, but thinking it has to be soon - the roosters are crowing- I realize they have been crowing for hours. The first cock-a-doodle-do sounded off at 3:30. You'd think having been "canoe fowl," arriving with the Polynesians sometime between 300-800 CE, that they'd be on Hawaiian time by now, meaning they'd start crowing around lunchtime, long after the sun had risen. But no, they started crowing when the sun was just beginning to rise.... over Oregon!

Perhaps that's a testament to Kauai sunrises. That even after all these centuries of living on the island, the Moa, these funny little barnyard creatures that literally rule the roost, still know a good thing when they see it.

As the morning creeps across the ocean toward our little bungalow, I realize one doesn't come to Hawaii. Hawaii comes to you. Sure, you lather on the sunscreen making sure not to forget your ears or that one spot on your leg that always burns; sure, you roll the top down and let the trade winds mess up your hair, you might even say something like, "oh, this is just what I needed. I'm so relaxed, I don't even care about my hair" as you're thinking about what to do next and what you need to pack for the beach or what you should do for dinner. The GPS says you're on Hawaii, but you haven't really arrived, not yet. But Hawaii knows you're here, and she'll find you.

Morning necessities.

Quietly, I watch the day begin on this island, this lava rock,that sits more than 2500 miles away from the US mainland. Humpback whales feed in the distance and mockingbirds call to each other from the flowers. Albatrosses ride the thermals overhead; ancient mariners searching for breakfast just as they have every day on Kauai for the last 4 million years. I wish them no ka 'oi, the best, as they blow out to sea taking the cares around my neck with them. Surfers ride the waves, although on modern equipment, as the early Polynesians did, searching for the perfect wave, the one that frightens and addicts them with its deep blue power. I think how life on Hawaii is something of a paradox, the way it stands still while moving forward and backwards in time at the same time until there is no difference. You're in a moment that is both a thousand years old and a thousand years young all at once. The whales know this, I think, as one breaches above the surface, but then, how can I presume what the whales know, or what anyone knows? As I sit on this thin edge between land and sea, I think maybe I should start with what I know.

What do I know?
1. Life is long and you become what you think, so dream big.
2. The answers are out there; watch for them.
3. The world spins pretty fast - what you put out comes back around.
4. This can all change in a moment.

Later, with the sun overhead, we get ready to go to Anini Beach to meet up with some friends who are also on Kauai. Thank goodness for Facebook, keeping us abreast of each others' whereabouts at all times. We had no idea they were here until we saw their pictures on FB! We pack the cooler with beach necessities - sun screen, ice, and beer, and head out. I think I got a pretty good parking spot.

Sitting on the beach with friends overlooking the Pacific Ocean, snorkel gear and towels everywhere, I think, I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be. After awhile, the ocean calls and I put on my mask excited to swim. People think Hawaii's waters are crystal clear, but that's not true. They're often sandy because of the currents and riptides with limited visibility, but if you look carefully, you start to see things. I suppose that's true with most things in life. Soon, we are following fish, coral channels, and eventually, a small sea turtle. Four friends in the ocean, smiling, knowing we'd never forget this moment. Amazing, we say over and over, because really, what else can you say? The moment is bigger than words.

-Posted using blogpress from my iPpad

Location:Kilauea, Hawaii


  1. 2012 has led you to some pretty beautiful places. :)

    I was in Kauai a few years back, so this was not only a beautiful and insightful post, but also a nostalgic one for me. Those roosters! Crazy things. But so true about the sun, how Hawaii finds you, and how you see things if you look. Hope you have a great rest of your trip! Make sure you make it up to Na'pali and over to Waimea. GORGEOUSNESS.

  2. You are one lucky lady! Thanks for getting up with those roosters and sharing all of this with us :)

  3. Emily, I went to Na'Pali a couple of days ago - so beautiful, and we're going Waimea tonight for the sunset. Thanks for the tips! Got any more? ;-)

    Mary, the roosters really didn't give me a choice! LOL! Hope you're having a great spring break too.