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Aloha

In the Bond of Love

Heart shaped Plumeria tree at the Maui Mall

The heart and soul of each

Plumeria blossom whispers Aloha

from the velvet green Ulupalakua Park

To the grains of sand upon the Makena shore:

And in chorus the waves respond…Maui No Ka Oi…

 

Unlike the Naupaka Ma uka, torn in half by destiny,

the forbidden love abloom in half its once whole,

the flower still whispers to the caressing wind:

“Aloha” from Haleakala’s Ulupalakua velvet hills while

Naupaka Ma kai responds “Aloha” from the ever yearning,

breaking shore.  Pele’s jealous legacy lingers no more… Keep Reading

Heart Signs

The iron gate painted orange stayed open.  It was nearly time to leave, to say farewell, and Aloha.

I walked out to walk back in, just to let the old Mango tree know I was about to leave for good.  Just then, I was back, walking back, and around it to touch it.  Too many thoughts cluttered my mind joined by a fierce fear of the unknown, and as I stood behind the tree holding it hold me.    I thanked it for always dropping a good sized mango at my feet.  I looked down and  saw the heart shaped vine…  Where on earth did it come from ?  Oh , these signs just keep me going still…  So, I said good bye…  I hung the heart shaped vine at the entrance from my heart.

That’s the way it was.  That’s the way it is.

Are we ever surprised by subtle heartfelt designs ?  I have been every time and they still appear… Back then both Frank and Paul maintained some balance in the ever growing, spreading joyous plants, shrubs, trees, and flowers…  It could have been left to become thick, and luscious as in the rainforest…  In retrospect, that would have been awesome !

These two gentlemen may be sitting together over a plate of sticky rice with Teriaky beef to recall the time on our property.  We celebrated their friendships, and remember their family, their stories.  The largest Haas avocados  on the planet grow from trees in the gulch with a stream on Frank’s family acreage.  Dear Paul may see Frank at St. Joseph’s on Sundays where he volunteers with all that is needed including stacking the shelves with goods for the needy.  Dear Frank is the grave digger and he proudly has had the job since a teenager.  Oh, I miss them.  They were part of our holy encounters.

In our yard, the guavas abundantly spoiled us and what was left to fall on the ground grew shoots of more trees… much like a weed…  The lemons, the oranges, the limes, the bananas all at one time, gave us a sense of the heavens.

Upcountry Kula is said to be the best climate in the entire world.  Makawao, Haiku, and Huelo are more wet, and abound in Lilikois…  The passion fruit just grows as a vine and blooms first as a flower…  Hana is the ultimate center of growth though still remote enough to have stayed mostly untouched, reserved, yet enticing.  There the black sand beaches attract the tourists.  The locals serve and keep a bench by the road with goodies and a tin can for a calabash donation.  It is a place where jewelry makers display enchanting necklaces, earnings, and the ever lovely leis… No matter the distance once on the island one feels at home.  Maybe the ukulele, maybe the breeze, or the all encompassing ocean, mountain, and life abounding “AINA”, the land, cradles the soul.  That was my experience. Keep Reading

Annabeth the Preacher’s Daughter

Defining moments in our lives are carved in the air to stand as tall as statues.  They are the pillars in our gardens.  They remind us of who we became because of them.  They call to us in spirit when we have nowhere else to go, and their friendship never ends.  Each conversation is a beginning.  Each farewell reassures a reunion.  It is an ever flowing stream.

Friends have a voice that when heard it’s a song.  We can dance to its beat because we know it.  We are at ease.  Annabeth Miguel Sayles sat at the school’s office on the first day of her new job, answering the phone, looking through papers, and wearing a smile with an uncertain confidence.  She was the lone warrior at Horizon’s Academy in Haiku, and many were glad she could muster what it took to do the job so sorely needed to be fulfilled.  She looked like a Precious Moments Angel figurine.

She took to the helm ever so grateful to make do as a widow, a Mom of two adult children, and a grandma of three.  As I recall, there had been a shift in administration.  She amazingly orchestrated all that was needed even in delivering successful fundraisers held on a golf course on the West Maui Mountains in a building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for Marilyn Monroe.  Getting along with everybody that came along required composure, tenacity, and a sense of humor.  Parents, teachers, administrators, aids, and students all passed by her and needed her for this or that, and she answered and took care to see that all was done and completed.  She stayed long hours.  Her elegance was prime.

In the midst of school functions, we discovered in conversation a mutual torch: being preachers’ daughters.  I think we both said simultaneously now that is funny !  Something about her natural beauty, her stately humility, her steadfast faith, her sincere devotion to family, her admirable strength of spirit, her common sense, and her discreet attention to the needs of others, set her apart. Her character qualities are imprinted on a solid marble like presence in attendance in my life.  The details of cruelties she endured are locked in a room of confessions in the heart of hearts.  We got it from our fathers who prayed to Our Father.  We were cemented. Keep Reading

FAITH, HOPE, and LOVE

Isn’t it funny how we meet people seemingly accidentally and then discover life would never have been the same without them ?  Jeannette sat alone in church, and one Sunday, I made it a point to join her.  We sang out of tune at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Keokea on Maui.  We chatted and I invited her for tea and lunch to be company for my Mom.  The two cocooned on the couch and spoke one or the other always smiling and nodding.  I wasn’t quite sure they understood any words as Jeannette tried to remember the French and my Mom would slide into Romanian yet they still cordially carried on like two birds in flight from tree to shrub and twig to fence.  The household seemed livelier as Jeannette came along in rides to the stores, and stayed to help me in the kitchen.  She insisted on holding my cutting board as I chopped peppers, onions, and carrots galore.  We meshed in stirring, mashing, and pouring while doting on my Mom with a little of this and that.  We found laughter in the fridge, on the stove, and over the table.  Little by little we said it all and she was there to dry my tears and understood what I could not.  She was the HOPE I wished in life for a friend.  She said I was the FAITH she needed to hear from a friend.  Her story carved a statue in marble.  Her strength dissolved iron.  Her gentleness feathered a breeze.

Even now that she departed, I wish to be nearer—she was a lady of poise galore.  Sometimes, I stop and sense her presence, perhaps it’s just the memory.  Ours was a friendship born in prayer.  I HOPE as she hoped.

Alike I had become friends with Cindy whom I visited at Upcountry Legends, her store.  She called my little guys “the group” and somehow from the start we cinched a friendship in conversation about God.  Yeah, the island attracts all kinds of people.  We met to talk about everything God related.  She gave me  a book that sits on my shelf A PARENTHESIS IN ETERNITY, by JOEL S. GOLDSTEIN.  Of its entire content which I love, her note on the cover is best and filled with her LOVE …and that is Cindy’s story.  Petit and smart even as a child, she still walks on clouds as her mother appropriately reminded the family.  She was born and raised in New York City, and used her daughter’s name for the shoe store: Taryn.  I honestly don’t know how she sold anything as she mostly spoke to everyone of God.  We cannot exhaust the topic and this is where Jeannette joined the party.  We three nested our lives in resolving the craters of sadness by refusing to stay stuck in the “mucks.”  We mastered the art of finding the best in the moment.  Our dearest Cindy was the one among us who as a child prayed to God for wisdom.  I was stumped and ashamed as I prayed for pretty knees.   Keep Reading

AS DUSK SHADES APPEAR

As Dusk Shades Appear Revisited in 2018

The longest I lived anywhere in sixty-eight years was in Maui, Hawaii, for over two decades.  I still call it home.  At the end of 2013, I wrote  a few paragraphs entitled “As Dusk Shades Appear”.  In retrospect, the following verse from the Bible expresses the experience best:
“May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love; and may you be able to feel and understand…how long, how wide, how deep, and how high His love really is; and to experience this love for yourselves, though it is so great that you will never see the end of it.”  __Ephesians 3:17-19

In 2013, I wrote a few paragraphs entitled “As Dusk Shades Appear”:It is the beginning of the evening. Some cooing and chirps call for feathered tweeters to settle on branches and are slowly more sparsely heard from afar; nearby, some flutters ruffle the monkey pod tree leaves good night.  The palms barely sway to wave the breeze gone by.Upcountry the island is quiet and tonight I feel the ache of an imminent goodbye. Gazing down the mountain, I whisper: farewell Aloha State.

‘Ke Akua Hoomaikai Oe’…  God bless you.  A hui ho…  see you later.

In 1992, we were the “haoles, ” a name given to the whites.  Ironically, it was actually a name meant to describe the whites that had landed on the islands for their actions, for being in a hurry.  Certainly after twenty years, the lull of the sway in every task is second nature.  Let me wave  the “shaka” sign meant to say “hang loose” though the mere thought tightens my throat to a noose.  Let me hum instead a melody of  I promise you “Love and Honesty,” and as I say good bye, let me meet with friends and let us sing again “Let’s Talk Story.”….  To even think of saying “A hui ho”  hurts because see you later may be much, much later than tomorrow.  From “mauka” the mountain side to “kai” the ocean side, love is a present present.

 In grateful step with the lace capped waves, the keepsake of memories will linger like the senses awakened in the salt perfumed air.  With a feast of its daily blue, Makena beach buffs  a turquoise buffet of colors majestically present as a God given portrait…  Now that I have become one in the allure of the shore, how can I be elsewhere forever more?  Listen to the colors of each word.  I cannot step away anymore than cousin Nick at that hour in that day for a stroll that here it stays.

The island overflows with love. However, its devilishness slithers because it is after all a place on earth inhabited by us, humans. To weigh the good against the bad upon God’s scale, no doubt lifts us as “better than bad” because to live Aloha is more than a greeting. As I said, Aloha becomes us.

To have missed a day of Maui’s splendor is by choice.  No matter what troubles fall upon us, God cuddles us with intricately designed flowers, fruits and herbs.  Even the weeds appear too pretty to pluck from the rich soil.  When the sun glimmers on these, unnamed hues appear, and heaven is nearer than I thought, I think.

Here days and months feel like reflective moments in time when we come to know much of what we wished to have known from birth.

It seems obvious that living here is a blessing bestowed by our Almighty. Whether born here or not, being a part of this community invites cooperation, and we do like sticky rice in a bowl.  Friends,family, and acquaintances are always excited to meet in a store.  The reunion is cause for chit chat with laughter.  I regard the meetings heart handshakes.  I pray all lessons learned can appease us and others.

The ginger in pink emerges from its foliage vase on so many walks…and life unfolds as barefooted we go like kids in school with no hallways, just the outdoors.

How will I say farewell greenery splashed with peach, pink, purple, yellow, red, white, and blue blooms?  They are the pearls of leis and I have known their  sweet, subtle aroma like from a warm cup of milk and honey.

Like the Mariner “In the Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner,” I will be telling “guests” someday how in Hawaii lives a favored paradise on earth where people like us, imperfect humans, strive like all others all over the world, to survive.

This is the harbor where immigrants from Asia speak English.  How can I forget the groups of elderly men sitting around a square table with a pile of pennies at each corner, head down, and playing a game of cards like children in the playground with marbles?  How about the milk caps?  All of them nodding with or without hats and in unison accents enjoying the game, so grateful to be having some fun together next to Ah Fooks Grocery Store, in the Kahului Mall.  There is no question these Hawaiians add an ounce of familiar joy in our lives.

This is where some have come to live while others simply to die, to be that much closer to the splendor here ever after.

Like Samuel Coleridge’s mariner, as I feel we may be leaving, I pray to remember to tell about the shape of a woman’s profile island of Maui.  I pray she be kept serene, be safe from thievery, corruption, and misguided beliefs.  May its people wake each morning grateful for its pristine land, the “aina.”   May Haleakala, the House of the Sun, oldest dormant volcano on earth, continue to magically pour its light of pearly gold.  May the water here and there and all around be clear and bright and like a hedge of armor placed by our Lord, protect the locals and the visitors.

May the graceful hula play a part in every dream as a means to arrive in style, in step, in accordance to God’s will.

As dusk shades appear to blanket the parade of foliage and flowers in our garden, I pray the stars that light the sky so brightly tonight, remain in my heart as the light of God I saw in the people of Maui.  Mahalo means Thank you…

Aloha is the sound of the breadth of Love, of saying Welcome, greeting Hello, and finally Farewell…

Maui No Ka Oi…Maui, we are the best…”

Those reflections seem as fresh as yesterday’s laid eggs.

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