I met a girl named Shayna when I was staying at Kirpal. She is sweet and kind, with vibrant green-blue eyes and we decided early on that we would travel together during the break in her internship. We decide to meet up in town at the Kava bar for planning the details.
“I would love to go to the Green Sands Beach,” I say to her. “I also want to go to the Kona side; it’s apparently sunnier and warmer than the Hilo-side. Less rain too.” Her boyfriend is coming in a few weeks so she is flexible; they will do a full travel around the island, so it is really my desire that will lead us in our direction. “I also feel a calling towards Waipio Valley. I love to hike and want a camping trip.” When Todd wanders into the bar, it is as if fate had led him there. Especially when he sits down to join us at a table and doubles my sentiment with, “Waipio is the most beautiful place on the island. You should go there.” We begin with our plan: we will leave Friday after Shayna is done work, and drive an hour to a beautiful cliff-side camping park. Early Saturday morning we will drive to Waipio Valley. After a nights stay on the beach, we will hike to Waimanu, which is a few valleys away, for our second night before returning to Pahoa on Monday.
Todd and Shayna begin chatting above the cluster of travel plans, and I notice that he has a way with making others feel comfortable, too. I mention that he should join us as we begin to set our sights concretely in the upcoming weekend. We have spent only a bit of time together though I subconsciously feel that having him around would only better the experience. When he leaves the table, I check in with Shayna, who agrees excitedly to have Todd join us.
When darkness falls upon Pahoa, and Shayna drives back to Kirpal in the borrowed truck that will carry us through the weekend, I accompany Todd to a potluck dinner at Cinderland. I am excited by the scene we descend into: children and dogs run about consciously, people practice yoga on a area of the floor, while others are gathered around dishes of homemade food deep in conversation. A booming drum circle lines the edges of a sparkling fire pit, illuminating the area and bringing life to the surrounding scene.
Harmony is there and she quickly rushes me away to find coconuts. She teaches me how to use a machete to get at its sweet nectar, and after we drink its basin, how to chop it into 4 pieces to be easily composted. Holding the machete in my arms I feel powerful and independent. I notice that a coconut’s water has never tasted so good.
When we finally return to the bustling scene I sit down next to Todd by the fire to beat lightly on a djembe. Having spent time with Harmony, I feel uplifted and empowered. I am full from delicious coconut juice and I rock slowly with the consistent rhythm of the drummers. A man walks up topless to the edge of the fire and begins moving his body to our hallowed beat. The fire lulls me into a calm and serene state and I begin to understand the power of Pele, the god that they say rules Big Island, Hawaii.