After only one day of living at the Sanctuary and working on the land, it is the weekend. Terra Ann told me the day before, “we are old fashion; we don’t work on the weekends.” There is an event all day in the Grow Room, called the Wisdom Keeper’s Gathering that we head over to after breakfast.
Sharply at 11:11am the opening ceremony for the gathering commends, with a group of women in beautiful, bright-coloured Hawaiian print dresses blowing the conch 3 times. I am mesmerized by the way the women present themselves: strong, serene and undeniably joyful. The crowd that sits on the floor below them listens intently to the women. We are asked to gather around in a circle for a group Reiki session, and after much shifting on the hardwood floor, we fall completely still. The only movement is outside the mesh lining of the Grow Room, where white tents are being set up for vendors and artists to display their work.
In typical Pahoa fashion, it rains off and on all day. No one seems to be bothered by this though, and instead wander to and from the Grow Room for the better part of the morning. In the afternoon, when they play a documentary from a projector on the wall, I saunter through the tent space with Brooke and Chloe, picking up samples of essential oils and bath salts.
In the evening I somehow convince the girls to come to ecstatic dance at the venue Garden Temple, which I haven’t been before but wanted to try. Harmony, a girl I met at the last ecstatic dance, while I was with Trish and Abbey is at the gathering and offers to take us in her van. We pile in amongst six or so other people, comfortably residing in the truck of the car. It is completely dark in the streets and as we whiz down the highway deeper into the jungle, dim streetlights illuminate the other girls’ faces in the trunk. Brooke and Erica wear serene expressions while Chloe smiles a childlike playfulness.
Garden Temple is just as invigorating as my first time at ecstatic dance. Maybe even more so because I now know what to expect and have been craving the feeling I had from the first one. While I begin to let the music flow through me and get lifted up by the energy of the crowd, I quickly peer over at the girls, to see them just as free and joyful a few feet away: their arms lifting to the sky and their minds surrendering to the movements of their bodies.
After a while, I wander to the side for a break (and to allow the sweat that has gathered at the nape of my neck a chance to dry off), when a familiar face looks up at me from one of the mats. “I know you, want to fly?” “Hi,” I say startled, while searching his face. It is a guy I met about a week ago at the night market during my training. We met next to the crystal booth when I quite literally bumped into him. Like an eager child he looks at me expectedly, his back still glued to the mat. Flying, I know, refers to an acro yoga pose. Even if not a yogi, most everyone has flown at a young age. It’s the act of placing your pelvis on the base of the feet of a person lying on the ground. Some may know it as airplane. “Sure,” I say. I explain I did it once before, earlier today, so I’m practically a pro. I breathe deep as I lean my weight onto his flexed feet. He walks me through a turn and a few flips, and I feel like an acrobat, soaring through the air as light as a plant leaf. Out of the corner of my eye, I see the girls watching me from the other edge of the dance floor with big loving smiles on their faces.
Afterwards I am exhausted and I must lay down in Balasana, Childs pose to rest. “It’s a lot of core work,” he says. “Want to go again?” I need a breather but soon I am off again, ascending high supported by the strength of his feet. When I finally come back down to earth, I fall into a quick and easy conversation with the yogi. I learn his name is Todd and he has been living on the island for almost a year, having originally been from Idaho. I get caught up again in his words, in his eyes. I tell him about teacher training and my transition to the Sanctuary. After what feels like just seconds though I’m sure is at least an hour, I am jolted back into reality. I again notice the music and the energy, the dance floor and the crowd. I again remember the girls and excuse myself to join them again.
I don’t see Todd again until right before closing ceremony where the music stills and we walk to join the closing circle. Todd comes up next to me with just enough time to grasp my hand in his. His hand is soft and warm, and when everyone else lets go he still holds my grasp. A part of me doesn’t want to let go either. He turns to me, “let’s plan a yoga play date this week,” he says and we share an extended hug before we part.
We drive back to the Sanctuary hot in the back of Harmony’s trunk, cuddled like sleepy puppies. We experiment with opening the trunk door and allowing cool air to rush up at us through the gape. When we crawl out, Harmony calls to us “Goodnight Goddesses.” I kiss her cheek and thank her for everything. I already love so much about her; the easiness of how she carries herself, her wild thick hair and her mesmerizing full moon eyes.
I fall asleep with warmth in my chest. When I close my eyes I see two indigo blue pools of Todd’s eyes looking at me through the darkness.