Monday, August 14, 2006

Haleki'i Heiau

( Click on any image for a larger view )

I have lived here for nineteen years and never been to this place. Last week it called out to me. For several days it insisted that I needed to come and listen. I kept putting it off because I was too tired to drive to the other side of the island at the end of the day. I finally managed to get there on Sunday.

These are the remains of a Heiau or religious platform used by Hawaiians for their ritual practices. It is located on the top of an ancient very tall sand dune and has sweeping views of the entire island of Maui.

To the west in the valley between the sand dune ridges is Waiehu and the West Maui Mountains in the background.

To the east is Wailuku Industrial Park and Kahului Harbor. Haleakala rises in the distance. Its summit is hidden in clouds. At the base of this steep dune is a section of the Iao Stream that has not been cemented and channeled as it moves through town. It is bone dry since all the water has been tapped further up the mountain. The industrial buildings back right up to the edge of the dry river channel.

To the south is Iao Parkside Condominiums and the town of Wailuku.

Directly west as the dune ends is another place I have never seen or knew of. It seems to be a remnant of the old Maui, a farm along the sides of Iao stream and surrounded by the growing city on all sides.

Hawai`i `78
( Sung by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole "Braddah Iz" )

Ua mau ke ea o ka `âina i ka pono `o Hawai'i *
Ua mau ke ea o ka `âina i ka pono `o Hawai'i

If just for a day our king and queen
Would visit all these islands and saw everything
How would they feel about the changes of our land
Could you just imagine if they were around
And saw highways on their sacred grounds
How would they feel about this modern city life?

Tears would come from each other's eyes
As they would stop to realize
That our people are in great, great danger now
How would they feel?
Would their smiles be content, then cry

Cry for the gods, cry for the people
Cry for the land that was taken away
And then yet you'll find, Hawai'i.

Could you just imagine they came back
And saw traffic lights and railroad tracks
How would they feel about this modern city life
Tears would come from each other's eyes
As they would stop to realize
That our land is in great, great danger now.

All the fighting that the King has done
To conquer all these islands, now these condominiums
How would he feel if he saw Hawai'i nei?
How would he feel? Would his smile be content, then cry?

(E hana hou i ka hui)

Cry for the gods, cry for the people
Cry for the land that was taken away
And then yet you'll find, Hawai'i.

Ua mau ke ea o ka `âina i ka pono `o Hawai'i
Ua mau ke ea o ka `âina i ka pono `o Hawai'i.

* Being perpetuated (is) the sovereignty of the land to righteousness/ to balance, Hawai`i

On Thusday I learned that a friend of mine was missing. By Friday I learned that she had most likely committed suicide and that her body had been found on a rocky beach very near to this place. The days she was missing were the same days earlier in the week that this place had been calling out to me so loudly.

On a sand dune ridge so old it has largely turned to stone is a high point with sweeping views of the past, the present and the future. A monument still stands to remind of us of a people whose strength and glory have passed, leaving many still, who struggle to remain.


christin m p in massachusetts said...

I believe, too, that her spirit was calling out to you.

Sometimes our loved ones' spirits even wake us up out of a sound sleep at the exact time of their passing, so they can say their final I love you in this lifetime.

I don't know what your beliefs are about the afterlife, but I believe in reincarnation. I'm sorry for your loss, because I know how much you must miss her. I hope your friend gets happier circumstances in her new life.

Annie in Austin said...

Christopher, I'm still catching up on what was written in the last two weeks. I'm so sorry to hear about your friend.

I'm not sure what I believe, but have heard too many first hand stories of spirits to dismiss Christin's idea.

The things you write about Hawaii are so far removed from the touristy stuff that we've all been exposed to. Your adopted state is well-served by your voice.


Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

Thankyou Annie. I do not think I would ever be offered a job with the MVB, Maui Visitors Bureau though.

In Hawaiian Culture, the Aina or land was of major significance as you might imagine for an island hopping seafaring culture. Braddah Iz laments the disrespect it is shown but recognizes its voice can still be heard.

I waffle on what I believe. It all boils down to whether or not the same energy of which we are made and that connects living beings to the larger same energy of the universe continues in some form after the machine which generates that energy stops working?

The memorial service was a very strange Japanese Jesus Kabuki Theater with the brother saying she did what she had to do and the minister denying the truth. She was there in the impact she left in the hearts of all the lifes she touched, a great many who stood up and spoke. Enough to have a funeral director be surprised and impressed.