by Donnie MacGowan
When the Aloha of Hawaii first called me, I felt my spirit ache, seeking adventure and the unknown; a hypnotic pull, my soul reaching toward an inner connectedness with the aina, the mysterious, the sacred land of Hawaii. For some, unraveling this enigma promises an experience of the profound. For me, it was like awakening in a new body, a new universe; like coming home for the first time.
Hawaii is more than tourist brochure visions of paradise…swaying palm trees, radiant beaches, dazzling weather. Exotic hula, sultry nights. There is a resonance, a deep richness to the experience that many modern visitors miss…the richness experienced by Hawaii’s first inhabitants, seeing the aina as they saw it.
People first came to Hawaii not in modern metal jet planes, giant ocean liners or even in large sailing vessels using compass navigation. They came in small, hand-made canoes with sails made of tree bark, navigating the vast ocean by the winds and stars and rain; by knowing the currents, the wave patterns and the migrations of the animals; by surviving storm and thirst and hunger. Making voyages of thousands of miles over the wildest ocean on earth, people first came to Hawaii a thousand years before the birth of Christopher Columbus; they came when the Roman Empire was beginning to crumble…they came on a voyage of over 2000 miles, more than four hundred years before the first vikings would venture out upon the seas.
If you would have the profound, participate in the mysterious, experience the enrichment and connect with the healing, sacred land of Hawaii, you must step in the places those first peoples stepped; learn of the land what they learnt and then, filled with the wonder and humility that they felt, hold in your heart the reverence and offer respect that they did. They, who came by touch and smell, by feel and by knowledge passed from father to son with stories told from mother to daughter; they came to dig and plant in the soil, to fish and explore upon the sea, to live and to love and to fight and to wrestle with all the vagaries of existing at the whim of nature–they came to build a new life in a new land. This was their experience of Hawaii. They came with all the energy and intimacy of their way of life and with the all love of knowing their world, their gods, their place.
This is the vision, these are the eyes through which they knew Hawaii. These are the eyes through which their descendants who still live here view their home…people whose culture is so deep and so ancient that they have spoken the same tongue and named their children the same names since long before the time even my ancient Scots family name was first put into writing.
Only when you have seen as they saw, stepped where they stepped, been humbled by Hawai’i’s aloha and malama aina as they were humbled, only then may you say you have known Hawaii.
Hawaii is a healing place of spiritual enrichment. It is a big place, not easily seen or known, ever changing as one travels through it. Imagine yourself there, now. Imagine that it feels like a mother’s love; imagine how it tastes like afternoon sunshine and it smells of hibiscus, the sea and a hint of coffee.
Now, you are visualizing aloha.
For more information on touring Hawaii in general and seeing the mysterious Big Island in particular, please also visit www.tourguidehawaii.com and www.tourguidehawaii.blogspot.com. For information about the author, go here.