Hawaii Letters Soul Travel

Big and Heavy

March 18, 2017

Dearest Sara,

Last we spoke, I was in turmoil. My trip has had a few obstacles: 2 canceled flights, a canceled dolphin swim (winter swells), a canceled whale watch and a camera battery that failed me. The Island has always given me what I need, but this was not the path I envisioned.

Today, I hear her message. This journey is not about doing what is comfortable, she says. Let go of trying to control the time you have here. Seek new places to fall in love with, new ways to connect to the land. If you have faith, you will find new adventure fearlessly.

My quest for today: the ancient temple (Heiau) on the north Kohala coast. You will remember this mysterious part of the Island by the black sand beach we never reached, waylaid on muddy cliffs by a wild tropical storm.

Pu’ukohola sits proudly on top of a large hill, testament to the tenacity of the ancient Hawaiians who built it with thousands of stones passed up the mountain from hand to hand. It is strength, epitomized. This is sacred land, but it is not the Place of Refuge. There are no tidal pools or palm trees to sit under here, instead, blistering desert sun and the tantalizing ocean just out of reach. I was suddenly afraid that this trek was beyond my hat and water bottle.

Turns out I didn’t need to hike to find my adventure for the day. I arrived and sought shelter from the sun, when the most incredible thing occurred. Remember our epic sunset whale watch?! Imagine the same, except with a pod of 10 whales, breaching and playing just 200 meters from the shore. I had come to this place with the heart of a warrior, ready to prove my strength to the Island, expecting an intense and heavy climb. Instead, the big and heavy was these gentle giants launching themselves out of the water in a display of sheer, unadulterated joy.

There I was, standing by the ocean in the shadow of the oldest temple on Hawaiian lands, watching humpbacks play for an hour. The hike to the Heaiu was beautiful, but nothing shakes your soul like the unexpected display of nature’s strength and playfulness. Don’t take your journey so seriously, the Island whispers.

For the rest of the trip, I will be like the humpbacks and do things joyfully, seeking play instead of seriousness. Who was it that decided soul searching needed to be so heavy? You told me to photograph Hawaii as if this was my last trip, but I won’t. The photos you see will be of only new experiences: future adventures we will share together when you come back home to the Island.

Until we meet again,




Photo Credit: Bamse

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