A trip down memory lane. Shortly after arriving on the big island in the summer of 2015 as a WWOOFer, I had taken a position on a moringa orchard that was up the Hamakua Coast. The views from the grassy rolling hills reminded me of the wheat fields of Montana only instead of mile and miles of wheat fields, there is the beautiful blue of the pacific ocean. I was at this place as I was starting into my journey with western medicine. My duties on the farm were cooking, and assisting with the harvest, packaging product for sale. All things I was able to achieve while healing. Moringa was an important part of my wellness journey as I took the powder daily to give me the nutrition and energy needed. I put moringa oil on my wounds/scars on my neck after surgery.
I had a series of surgeries, the last one being the one where my sister came and escorted me home. “Home” at that time was on the moringa farm. The manager allowed me to make an additional space for my sister to stay. Then my older sister flew over from the mainland and we had a “sister” retreat at a vacation rental down off the Red Road at “Vacation Land”, the housing area of Puna that lay upland of the famous “tide pools” where people loved to snorkel. I had never been snorkeling there but my sisters would go every morning while I rested and continued to heal from the last surgery. This area was one that was overtaken by lava during the eruption. When my sister had come to help me after surgery, she spent several weeks. The fellow who managed the farm took us on several adventures exploring the island. This time during her short visit we were able to revisit some of the same areas though not the places that required four wheel drive. We drove down to Punalu’lu Black Sands beach and saw the green sea turtles on the beach. They are a regular tourist attraction and I can usually count on them being there. Punalu’lu Bakery and a malasada (Hawaiian pastry) were in order as part of the south end of the island tour.
One day we drove up over saddle mountain where Mauna Loa is on one side and Mauna Kea is on the other. It was cloudy and we were unable to see the tops of the mountains but could tell we were driving between two mountains. On the other side of the island we hung out for several hours at Spencer Beach. It is a place that will always be special as it was my first adventure in Hawaii back in 1982. From there we traveled up along the top of the island, through Wiamea, cattle country and out to the Wiapio Lookout – which afforded us the pleasure of seeing dolphins playing in the ocean below us. Along the way, out to the lookout, we stopped at a roadside fruit stand and the visitors were treated to fresh coconut water.
Along the Hamakua Coast there are still remnants of the old winding Mama’aloa Highway that used to go all the way around the island. This year when my sister came we took a whole afternoon of exploring the coast, going down under the bridges to where the rivers meet the ocean, where we pulled out our beach chairs for an afternoon sit in the beach parks. Watching for waterfalls, stopping for pictures, fresh air, soaking in the beauty of this place where I live, made for a delightful afternoon. We took the side roads to check out the local surfers. Stopping at the botanical gardens gift shop, along the scenic drive above Hilo, one of the members in our group scored some good books on pants and trees. The day’s not been wasted if we learn something new.
It was five very busy, very fun, sometimes emotional days. My visitor’s trip to the island renewed my love of the place where I live. I know that nothing happens by mistake and this visit is just what I needed, when I needed it, in so many ways. Love and visitors, love my visitors, love is the answer.