There are pieces of paradise hidden even inside other pieces of paradise. One of such places is the Limahuli Garden & Preserve, hidden almost at the northern end of Kuhio Highway.
The gallery is at the end. 🙂
Turning off the road, it seems like if you were entering someone’s private driveway. And the homely feeling stays with you for the rest of your visit.
When I came inside of what looked and felt like a cozy home, there was a woman weaving tiny baskets from grass leaves.
“Aloha,” she raised her head towards me upon my entering the room.
“Good morning,” I answered. She looked me from the head to toe, letting her look seep deep into my eyes. It was a very unusual exchange but, surprisingly, not uncomfortable.
“You,… you know the Aloha,” she concluded after a while.
“Al… aloha?” I greeted her so, more of a question than a greeting.
“That’s right;” a warm smile spilled on her face, and she continued; “Coming to see the garden?”
“Yes, I am.”
“No, not yet. Just a normal admission.”
“I’m starting college this fall.”
“Well, student it is,” she kept her smile on as she handed me back my money and a short book about the history of the garden, the plants, and a few ancestral Hawaiian legends. I knew that she knew more than I knew she knew. (Does this even make sense?)
As I left the cozy cottage with her going back to her weaving, smiling and knowing, a strong sense of peace and connection washed over me and the entire “self-guided tour” of the garden felt and still, until today, feels like if it happened in a dream. Apart from the mosquitoes. They were the only thing keeping me at least partly in this world, otherwise, I might just drift away and never come back…
I got lost, got lost in the lush greenery, in the native rainforest, lost in the place that’s been there long before me, with people who have been there long before me. The Makana mountain, where the sacred ‘oahi used to be performed, was watching over me, guiding my steps. Reading about this ceremony, I could see the night coming, the fire flying through the sky towards the ocean.
I didn’t need any extra ninja powers to get close to the fauna; they allowed me to step closer and closer, to observe and admire. I was let to share the space with them without either one of us disturbing the other. Like if we truly met inside a dream, each of us in our own bubble but able to communicate on some ancient level anyway.
Beings other than animals and humans offered me the comfort of their presence and their quiet. Everything in this place had something to say, and something to share in ways other than those we know and commonly use. They talked to me not with words but with some other language, unknown to anyone else but us.
The sky, hanging low, heavy with clouds, covered us and muffled all the sounds. Everything felt quiet and cozy, welcoming.
Pillows of moss, roof of leaves, rocks I could sit on. It was like if I came home after a long day at work and was allowed to finally take my shoes off and feel loved; welcome home, the Earth said.
Everything was quiet; I was quiet; my mind and body were quiet. When walking across the forest floor and on the paths, my feet didn’t make any sound; like if I wasn’t even touching the ground. The wet Earth felt a little bit chilly against my bare feet but it was just perfect.
I came almost to the end. To enter the sacred space where chiefs once made decisions and led debates, one has to take their shoes off. I didn’t have mine and entered the space with deep respect for everyone and everything that has been a part of this ancient valley since thousands of years ago. I could almost hear them – talking to me in languages i had no idea existed…
The previous Searching-the-Aloha article is HERE.
You can find all the previous (and the ones that are to follow) posts from Hawaii HERE.
And have a day full of wonder! 🙂
(Also, if you feel like it, you can follow my blog so you won’t miss any of the following Hawai’i articles!)