The Pleasure Is All Mine

Recently, several people dear to me have lost loved ones.  I shared the poem "Memoir" with them as a small condolence during a devastating time.  The Irish poet Dennis O'Driscoll wrote it shortly before his own early death in 2012.  Hearing of a death, an illness or a near-accident gives us instant clarity about who and what is precious in our life, an important reminder during the rush of daily routines.  May this poem remind you of all the beauty in your life and give you justification to savor pleasures each day with the people you love.


It has been

being me.

A unique

Now my
whole life

lies ahead
of you.

No thanks
at all are

called for,
I assure you.

The pleasure
is all mine.

~ Dennis O'Driscoll, from Dear Life 


Island Time, Keiki Style

Live in the sunshine
Swim in the sea
Drink the wild air

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Xavier has adapted very well to island life. The vitamin D and the tropical air have been so good for him, so good for all of us. He has some new vocabulary words including "aloha," "beach," and "fish." Below are a few of his highlights from Maui...

Throwing the football on Baldwin Beach.

Watching the surfers, kite boarders and windsurfers from Ho'okipa Lookout.

Welcoming the sun from the summit of Haleakala National Park. (Haleakala means
"House of the Sun.")

Hiking the 12-mile Sliding Sands Trail through the volcanic crater (a breeze when you are riding on your Dad's back).

Spotting the rare Silver Sword plant which grows inside Haleakala's crater and no where else on earth.

Stopping to smell the flowers on an Upcountry hike.

Exploring the lava cliffs in Hana.

Driving the Hana Highway, which was extra enjoyable since we rented Cabin #3 overlooking the sea in the Wai'anapanapa State Park to break it into two-day trip.  Wai'anapanapa means "glistening waters."

Splashing in the fountain at the Maui Mall.

Seeing many, many humpback whales breaching on a sail to Molokini.

Hiking through a bamboo forest to Waimoku Falls.

Smelling a plumeria blossom while modeling a new aloha shirt.

Playing at Baby Beach, our local beach.

Directing sand castle construction with his pals Sage and Summit.

Examining coral, shells and rocks and then throwing them into the water.

Posing for the camera at 'Iao Valley State Monument.

Finding new friends at the Maui Ocean Center

Singing songs at story time with Auntie Nina at the Makawao Library.

Waiting out a tropical downpour in Queen Ka'ahumanu Shopping Center where we rode the train, romped in the indoor playground and read books at the Maui Friends of the Library shop.

Scooping up local art in a second-hand shop in Kahalui.   

Napping on the beach beneath swaying palm trees.

Marveling at the 100-year old Banyon tree in Lahaina.

Riding the tram at the Maui Tropical Plantation and shouting "All Aboard!" with the "Ducky" (his word for Conductor).

Exploring the art at the Hui No'Eau Visual Art Center

Reading a few tales of Old Hawaii and endless books about trains.


Behold This Lovely World

"Waterfall-No. III-Iao Valley"
Georgia O'Keeffe 1939

I'm putting together an anthology in my mind.  I am organizing all the great writers and artists and poets who passed through Hawaii and putting them together in one beautiful imaginary coffee table book to look at any time I want to revisit the islands. It will be filled with the specific stories, quotes and images that have made my personal experience (and many countless others' experiences) of Hawaii so much richer.  There is to be an imaginary accompanying audio file with conch shells, traditional chants, drum circles, slack-key, ukelele music and surf songs. Perhaps I'll include all the writers reading their stories and all the artists reading their letters from the islands.  A partial line-up:  Herman Melville working in Honolulu, Mark Twain hiking Haleakala, Robert Louis Stevenson hanging out with King Kalakaua, Jack London sailing his yacht here, Georgia O'Keeffe bucking her commission to paint pineapples, Ansel Adams snapping photos, W.S. Merwin studying Zen Buddhism and then planting a sanctuary of palm trees over the next 40 years.  And then there are all the chants, myths, songs and poetry of the Hawaiians themselves in their soft and lilting vowel-flooded language. Such as this one, Behold This Lovely World, which will be the title of my imaginary book:

E'Ike Mai

I luna la, i luna
Na manu o ka lewa

I lalo la, i lalo
Na pua o ka honua

I uka la, i uka
Na ulu la'au

I kai la, i kai
Na i'a o ka moana

Ha'ina mai ka puana
A he nani ke ao nei


Above, above
all birds in air

Below, below 
all earth's flowers

Inland, inland
all forest trees

Seaward, seaward
all ocean fish

Sing out and say
again the refrain

Behold this lovely world.

~Hawaiian Chant composed by Mary Kawena Pukui