The Sleeping Giant Awoke

Well, I’m back.

It’s odd to think that those three little words are the first line of my long-overdue post while simultaneously being the last line of a long, yet very epic novel (spoiler alert for that link). At any rate, it’s been awhile, eh? Probably 3 months. And I’ve missed you. 🙂

I have been wrapped up in this and that, and well…you know how life goes. In deciding the content for my first post in so many months, I thought of my time in Hawaii so many years go.

I had just graduated high school at age 17, my step-grandfather had passed away, and I was asked by my grandmother to accompany her (with parental permission) to Hawaii that next winter. My family and I were living on the west coast at that time, and I had always wanted to experience the islands; all the while growing up they seemed so close but at the same time a million miles away. Now my dreams were to become reality.

Winter came and I found myself boarding my very first airplane to a new world. We left a frozen land, crossed an endless sea, and ultimately landed in an oasis of sun, fun and surf. The two of us then proceeded to travel the normal tourist route of shops, hotels and marketplaces in bustling multi-cultural Oahu.

I have to admit that Oahuor The Gathering Place being the busiest and most tourist-friendly of the islands, did not resonate with me. After due time I was happy to find myself finally climbing a tarmac staircase onto a rickety puddle jumper destined for Maui.

Now, this was many years ago, mind you, and probably at least 2 dozen major hotels have since been built on the leeward side of the Valley Isle, and built in what I remember as being “nothing more” than pineapple and sugar cane fields at the foot of the West Maui Mountains. In those days it was a magnificent sight and one I never grew tired of.

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The West Maui Mountains back when pineapple and sugar cane fields ruled the shorelines.

After the Maui experience we flew up to the northernmost island, Kauai. The Garden Isle, at that time, was scarcely populated and I recall there being a building restriction in place: a maximum of 5 stories. Consequently, it kept the hotel chains to the bigger islands and the result on Kauai was that you were surrounded by the native culture, which I had come to love.

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I stayed in a hut on the Wailua River. Banana trees grew in the front “yard” which seamlessly merged with the shoreline.

For a short time I stayed in a very small cabin on the Wailua River. This was a calm and quiet time, and I somehow escaped ever viewing the boat that would take sunburned tourists up the river to see the famed Fern Grotto.

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The famous lava-rock grotto covered with hanging ferns otherwise known as the Fern Grotto. Kauai, Hawaii.

I was more content to pick ripening bananas off the trees by the shoreline or crossing over the road and down the hill to collect shells on the beach by Kapaa Town. And then, there were always the moonrises…

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Moonrise on the shore of the Wailua River. Otherworldly, to be sure.

Kauai is known for many things, one of them being the mountain range that serves as the resting place for the mighty Sleeping Giant (Nounou Mountain). As Hawaiian legend goes, the giant (after much labor or overeating….or both,) laid down on the mountain ridge and never again rose.

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This island also holds the record as having one of the rainiest spots on Earth: Mount Waialeale (Hawaiian: overflowing water). Rain has fallen more than 340 days within a single year here, and has at least once accumulated close to 700 inches of annual rainfall. The result is endless green.

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The “Wall of Tears”: a mountainside in the crater atop Mount Waialeale, Kauai.

It’s interesting that I recalled these memories today, and perhaps even more interesting to me that I decided to share them. Simply put: Hawaii was a life-changing experience for me all those many years ago. It was there that I decided what I wanted to be in lifetruly.

Is that to say I haven’t taken a detour now and again? No. But at least I knew when I had wandered, and which was the right path when I’d finally made my way out of the wilderness.

Well, I’m back.

~Ana