As soon as you step onto
the island you are surrounded by the sights, sounds, and smells of nature. Hawaii
and its people are the embodiment of man’s love and respect for nature.
The strong tropical
scents from all the multicolored flowers which adorn the women’s hair and
loosely hang in gentle chains around their necks as decorations. The islander’s jewelry is made from local
animal bone, Puka shells, and the beautiful smooth golden brown Koa wood, which
is sacred to the people of the island.
young man shimmies up a tree in the warm morning sun to retrieve the large brown
fibrous fruit. The powerful aroma of
fresh coconut can be detected a ways off as he prepares the treat. A few quick
hacks of his machete and the fruit is ready for sale to passersby.
Indigenous people line a beach side market selling all their wares. Fruits of every color and shape line a
display table. A large woman with an
infectious smile, wearing a brightly colored floral dress, presents her latest
pick, a bright red spiked berry shaped like a large grape but has a deep purple
flesh on the inside with the consistency and taste of a kiwi. A little boy shows off his carvings he made
from driftwood and painted all the different colors of the rainbow. He holds up his favorite, a turtle shell, the
size of a ball cap, which has a coarse green lumpy top and a bright yellow
bottom made smooth by the boy using soapstone and sand. He is more than willing to demonstrate his
technique for anyone interested. An
older man, skin leathery from the sun, with eyes keen and bright, and a laugh
full of life, sits behind his table of fish freshly caught that morning. He
picks up his favorite catch, a large Mahi Mahi fish, it’s scales glistening in
the sun, the bright yellow bottom of the fish gives way to the blue green top,
the large top fin standing up from the animals spine.
While on the beach with the warm grit of the
sand and coral bits squeezed between your toes, the smell of saltwater
permeates the air. As you watch the bronze skinned man, hair bleached by sun
and salt, carve through the water, standing on a piece of wood shaped by hand,
he invokes the ocean god Kanaloa recently risen from the depths.
lowering sun out on the horizon reveals the image of powerful men gliding over
the waves on a Malia racing canoe, a hand hewn log, carefully made by an
artisan with almost spiritual like respect for the tree it came from.
the sun sets a whole new color palette comes into view. The hues of orange and yellow drape the
island. Men stand around the night’s
meal, a pig the men dispatched and prepared earlier, wrapped in banana leaves
and cooked in the ground to feed the tribe.
The delicious taste and smell lingers as the music begins. Music that sounds like it comes from both the
depths of one of the islands volcanoes and also floats in on the wind dancing through
the trees. The people are adorned in the
local grasses and flowers, women swaying their hips like the palm trees in the
ocean breeze. The tattooed men dance to
their sound, stomping and chanting, spinning fire sticks that feel like they
were lit by the island lava flows.
overwhelming feeling of the Hawaiian people’s connection to their surroundings
is witnessed in everything they do. When
visiting the island, the outsider, gets a brief glimpse of their powerful love
and respect for their island and all it contains.