The birds sound so loud here: the mourning doves, the free range suburban roosters (my Hawaiian alarm clocks) and some exotic birds which I cannot identify. They seem loud because it is so strikingly quiet otherwise. You can occasionally hear a car door close or a dog bark down the street. The leaves of the Palm tress and pink ginger plants, blown by the trade winds, rustle and sound like raindrops falling in a sudden shower. A little green Buddha statue smiles at me from the corner of the garden. He is almost obscured by potted plants, given to us from our generous neighbor. A gecko skitters down the coral sidewalk through the garden, where I sit on a wooden bench drinking tea. We have just returned to Hawai’i.
Hawai’i is a very spiritual place to me. It is a good place to give myself permission to just be. Unlike New York City, where I go to see the sites and shop at a rather frenetic pace, I relax in the warmth of the Hawaiian culture and climate. It is easy to slow down and open up to the beauty all around me here. Everything is spiritual. It is spiritual how traditional Hawaiians greet one another – nose to nose, exchanging breath and looking into each other’s eyes. “Ruah” in the Hebrew Bible means breath or spirit. God breathed life or spirit into humanity in the creation story. As people greet one another, they are exchanging their spirits in this intimate expression.
Driving home over the Pali amid mountain peaks shrouded in clouds, it is awesome to see Kane’ohe and Kailua on the valley floor below. From the cliffs one thousand feet up, you can see a large stretch of the Windward coastline and lush green land of “the rainy side.” I see the beauty and majesty of nature here as reflective of Akua’s (God’s) creativity, ingenuity and greatness.
Living on the rainy side, where almost every day sees some divine watering of the earth, reminds me of the words of Langston Hughes: “Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby.” Here we seem to be closer to the rhythms of nature. Even as I go running, the rain is like a warm shower which I embrace. And why not? I cannot control it. I might as well let it kiss me.