I awaken to the singing of crickets and distant birds outside my window. I grab my phone: 8:15am. It is the first time in months that I didn’t set an alarm. Outside there is no movement, so I wander to the further kitchen looking for food.
Two girls and a guy are sitting at the table when I arrive. I ask where I can get food, within walking distance. “Nowhere,” they collectively say. “You have to drive to get anywhere on the island.” One of the girls comes over to me, smiling. “I’m leaving soon, I’ll take you,” she says.
She introduces herself as Mila and we pile into her large red van. It’s messy but not dirty and Mila explains she “likes a certain amount of chaos.” As we chat about Austria, where she’s from and her profession as a midwife, I notice she’s wearing pink polka dot pyjama pants. She drops me off at Maku’u Farmers market in Pahoa before taking off to Hilo.
It starts to rain almost immediately. Large warm drops roll down my skin and on to my glasses, blurring the market scene. People linger under the canopies of the vendor stands to stay dry. I take refuge under a protected seated area. Gail and Dianne introduce themselves from across the community table where i sit. They are retired Canadians who own property on the island. They have grey hair and sun wrinkles though are undoubtedly beautiful. When I tell Dianne I love the ocean, she tells me I must contact her after training so we can snorkel together in he reserve near her house. She scribbles their numbers down on a loose scrap of paper for me. I fold it and place it in my pocket. Just then the cab arrives to take me back to Kirpal.
I decide to walk to the ocean, a 20 minute walk down the road from the centre. I discover the thermal pool that is tucked away in the forest beyond the shoreline. I watch the waves crash, silently thanking whatever forces are at play for bringing me here to Hawaii.
Dinner is at 6 and I wander down to the community kitchen. Many unfamiliar faces greet me when I arrive. Fresh faces that smile or hug me hello. A few that kiss my cheek. I bring my dinner and join a group of girls that are giggling on the verandah. This is where I meet Rebecca, a strong and serene black hawk pilot from Texas and Jo, an Aussy with bold blonde curls and an infectious laugh.
The instructors summon everyone to the yoga pavilion. We all sit on pillows or yoga mats, cross legged on the wooden floor. The Four yogis sit in front of us, their instruments erect. We all become children then, bursting with anticipation at what our teachers will do next. Allison’s eyes are closed as she stirs the harmonium awake. It adds an energizing quality to the room, while also stilling it. When the ukulele bass joins in and Allison opens her mouth, ancient Sanskrit pours out easily. It is as if she belongs to a time many years ago and we are just borrowing her company for the night. The room bursts into its full animation as we all begin to sing. Some songs are call and answer and others we sing in unison. Our voices merge easily like individual drops of water that together form a stream. I curl into the musical embrace as if in a trace. Later in my room mantras echo in my head, drowning out the usual cricket chatter. I notice how mystical the night air has grown, before exhaustion embraces me fully.