He spins the dramatic story of the healing journey we are about to take. Every word is enunciated for dramatic effect and he speaks in a commanding, resonant voice, "You will go down to the sea. A boatman is waiting for you, to take you across the waters, which may be very turbulent. Though you may feel fear there is no need to be afraid as he knows the way and is a very skilled seaman. You will arrive at the island of the ancestors where all those in your lineage reside, from the most recently crossed over to the dead who existed eons ago."
"As you make your crossing, riding the waves and the storms, ask yourself: who am I seeking, what questions do I have for those who have gone before me who can see across time and space, who can tell me about the afterlife, the time between lives or gift me with insight regarding the earthly life I am presently living." His voice trails off as the beat of a drum faintly echoes in the distance, becoming stronger and closer with each strike of the beater.
Filled with anticipation and excitement I ride on the beat of the drum, the heartbeat of mother earth herself as my heart falls in sync and breaks open.
This is like no place I know; part Hawaiian but also other. The undergrowth breaks under foot with each step and I realize I am walking through the cool shade of a rainforest. The turquoise blue of the ocean is just beyond the dense foliage; the waves break rhythmically on the shore. As I am about to step onto the expansive beach, something stops me. From my place in the shadows I see, a few yards away, a rustling in the dense brush that borders the deserted white, sand beach. A tiny, frail, figure wanders out, stepping tentatively as one lost in a dream. The sun, shining too brightly from a brilliant, unblemished blue sky causes her to squint and cower just a little. Pale, grey, bleached out after 90 years of life, she and her faded, flower print nightdress almost blend into the sandy backdrop.
She looks around for the first time in a very long time and begins to ask herself, for the first time in a very long time, Where am I? What is this place? How did I get here? Where did I come from?
Instinctively, she looks out to the sea knowing that it has all the answers.
The sunlight dances on the water like tiny glistening diamonds. They merge into the form of a young dark haired man who comes forth from the ocean. A tanned, dashing figure with sea blue eyes and heart-filled smile; he gently approaches her. She warily stands her ground, looks him up and down through dim eyes under her furrowed brow.
"I've been waiting for you for so long and now you're here," he reaches for her hand but she pulls away. "You were lost but you've found your way now. It's alright. It's time to go but first you have to change." She clutches her hands to her chest gathering up the folds of her nightgown close to her body, turns away from him then looks over her shoulder. He waits patiently. Finally, sensing he poses no threat she eases her position.
"Step out of this," he makes a sweeping gesture over her tired, old form. She looks over her arms and her hands. And then as she touches her face a shock wave of memories pass through her. Her dulled hazel eyes clear, allowing her to see that it is her beloved who beckons with an outstretched hand and loving heart. Looking into his eyes she remembers all and in that moment her old body drops to the sand; a discarded cloak revealing her true self returned, resplendent in the vibrancy of youth resurrected. The lovers see each other for the first time in a long time. She reaches out to him, puts her hand in his and their hearts unite.
I remained spellbound unable to come out of the shadows nor walk away. How long I stayed I couldn't tell. After some time resting in each other's embrace they looked to the sea, strode into the surf, dove under the waves and became one with the dancing, sunlit waters.
The crashing waves became the drum calling me back.
I did not get to the island of the ancestors instead I serve as a witness to tell of their union and their journey home. Perhaps the locks of her hair that I strew out into the ocean in Hawaii in ordinary reality opened the way for crossing over into non-ordinary reality and the island of the ancestors.
In the spirit of ALOHA, A HUI HO Mom and Dad!
MAHALO for the opportunity Robert!