I just got off the phone with a young, long-term friend where we discussed the meaning of “faithfulness”–and a few ideas dawned on me. King Harald, waving to Norway’s sea of happy children in May 17’s Independence Day parade, had married Sonja, a commoner with (gasp! in 1930s) a questionable past and a son. Their son, Crown Prince Haakon remained true to Mette-Marit in spite of her scandalous roots and they birthed Princess Ingrid Alexandra. She may one day be the first female monarch since the 15th century. England’s Prince Harry married Megan Markle recently; the world buzzed about how that mis-match of past and power turned England on its ear. The image of Harry reaching for her hand while listening to the non-traditional wedding sermon suggested to me that he took the words “for life” seriously.
A quarter-century friend from the Midwest came for her first HI island visit and asked to go to Kauai also. She experienced Hawaii and I remembered KS/MO roots.
We road up the river to Fern Grotto to hula strains, listened to the “Hawaiian Wedding Song” (think Elvis!) where couples marry and renew vows often. Hens and chicks greeted us wherever we went.
We also took a 7-hour Dolphin sunset up the Na Pali coast. I opted not to swim with the tourists who risked swells and nearby rocks, holding to an instinctive feeling that the calmer waters four islands south held my allegiance. It was a memorable afternoon of red earth, green vegetation, dark caves, ancient legends, falling waters, congenial people, delicious food, nutty dancing, and off-key karaoke on tossing waves.
Inaccessible ancient caves, there perhaps 4,000 years to when Kauai began eroding, gaped from the cliffs. One seemed lit inside.
Next day, we drove to Waimea canyon lookouts and saw where we had looked up from the sea. Different views only enhanced Kauai’s beauty. We also visited Kauai Coffee Farm and the Spouting Horn, the first a tribute to flexibility (from sugar cane and pineapple to coffee production) and the ever-surging ocean’s faithfully spewing through its lava tube.
Back home on the Big Island, we drove to Akaka Falls and got as close to Pele’s activity down southeast as closed-roads would allow. New land is formed almost minute-by-minute as 45 mph lava rivers flow from Kiluea toward the sea, with National Guard and police keeping close watch on who comes and goes. While wishing for more breathable air, most humans are awestruck by the physical history taking place there.The dependability of earth, gravity, and earthquake forces seem evident, even as over 1700 people, 200 homes and businesses are destroyed. Tourists’ cameras still clicked at ginger and landscapes revealing waterfalls, lush as on my first visit in the 1970s.
King Kamehameha’s birthday found folks with Hawaiian lineage placing 30′ leis over his outstretched arms while ti-wrapped gifts and hula tributes were presented and queen and princesses rode with yards of satin streaming from their kukui-fastened skirts, just like ancient days’ celebrations. I opted to snap a modern-day cowboy tending his horses, quartered on the recently-updated golf course. We can play 9 holes now, thanks to a few persevering souls who re-designed and re-opened the course after it closed.
My friend has gone to sizzling temperatures in the Midwest; I’m enjoying Trade Winds here in Hawi, catching up on my fast-growing yard. I took time out to practice with a dozen ukuleles and voices for a pre-funeral sharing of songs, another tradition here, and stayed to learn about the lady who had “fought a good fight, finished the course, and kept her faith” since 1930. One son’s candid speaking of his differences with and appreciation of his mother plus a daughter’s sweet memories circled around one fact–their mother was staunchly faithful to what she believed.
I mentioned the theme (faithfulness) to my young telephone buddy, and her saying “beyond the religious connotations, it means being faithful to my path” led us to explore what she perceived her path to be. Tables turned, and she asked for my definition. Many examples came to mind, with the over-arching meaning circling back to holding to that still, small voice keeping me true to relationships while taking care of myself. Perhaps it means being faithful to Love while seeking the long view.