ophe's promise

something akin to a sketch pad

moon phases
Location: Hawaii, United States

one of my favorite quotes: Be Humble for you are made of earth; Be Noble for you are made of stars.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Pu'u Umi (The place of Umi)

Umi was an alii of the Hawaiian Islands sixteenth century; I've not been able to discover much about him except that he exacted a cruel revenge on a former surfing competitor (had him sacrificed) and that a heiau, named for him (A'hua Umi), in the center of the Big Island was one of the first astronomical observatories of his people. The Wau Akua (Place of the Gods) is in the upper elevations of these islands. The traditional belief was that when approaches a sacred place, one must have the proper reverence, and must come equipped with a reason and purpose. I had mine in mind for Sunday's hike.

Sunday's hike was up the Kohala Mountains and into a forest preserve called Pu'u Umi, at about 5,200 foot elevation. A beautiful mystical place with little to no sign of humans - it could and would have been a marvelous hike except for the sense of danger that enveloped me throughout our scramble. (In fact, I found myself praying for courage and strength.) The path is not well marked and in most places is a bed of moss covering fallen branches and tree trunks. Where there is no moss there was gooey mud. The earth literally swallows your feet as you mush along, causing one to wonder if the next footfall will be into a sunken lava tube. More than once my foot was sucked down to ankle-level. Often times we'd have to swing around, clinging to a branch, in order to avoid a particularly mucky spot. We climbed through the forest for about an hour or so, following sporadic blue or orange tags; otherwise we might have become totally lost. Finally, we came upon an opening in the forest that revealed a sudden drop of a thousand feet or more. No idea where we were; perhaps overlooking the back of one of the valleys between Pololu and Waipio. Suddenly, we were blasted with a frigid and wet wind, that disappeared as soon as we ducked back into the forest cover. The men wanted to continue on; I felt it was an unfortunate omen and that we should return. Our footprints were already erased by the moss and mud on our return trip down the hill and we took a couple of wrong turns. Nevertheless, the going was quicker on our descent. After stopping for coffee in our favorite cafe' in Hawi, we headed for the ocean to bathe our feet and warm ourselves in the late afternoon sun. By the time we arrived home, I had a killer headache, a pounding heartbeat and headed directly to bed. Thoughts of my impending death......(yeah, I know, ridiculous, but headaches are a rarity for me and this one was sudden and extreme) So.....I think.....I'm about to die......this isn't particularly scary but I'm disappointed.....I haven't done what I'm supposed to have done.....in fact, I don't even know WHAT I'M SUPPOSED TO BE DOING WITH MY LIFE! sigh.....I'm your's, God, do as you will .... Of course, I woke up (still alive) and feeling 100% better, and maybe even a bit wiser.....One prays for courage and strength and receives a test in answer. (the tests continue this week, perhaps more on that later)


I've a great desire to find a way up to A'hua Umi, the ancient ruins of Umi's temple, but suspect that I'll need even more strength and courage for that excursion. It's located on a private land trust, between the three great volcanos of this island. I contacted a representative from the trust to seek permission to cross the lands. He tells me that he never grants permission to individuals but will grant permission to non-profit organizations and that he would like me to come in and meet him. He'd like me to form a group! I talked it over with my son, suggesting I could form a group called "Tutu Ruthie's slow hikes". His version was more along the lines of "Tutu Ruthie's boring hikes" (smile) (tutu is a term of endearment for a grandmother; I'm not one yet, but looking forward to my tutu years ahead)

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