Honolua Bay Trespass...
Sometimes in life you get to go to a place that greets your soul upon arrival. You are just walking along, feeling the energy of the place, digging it. Vibing right along with it. And then, just when you think it can’t possibly get any better, it does.
That was yesterday in Honolulu Bay. What an amazing place! I would have preferred it to be isolated and not shared with a whole bunch of other people, but this just likely shows me how much the Hawaiian man who is the caretaker for the land must feel about all of us. To be in charge of such an amazing place, to want to share it but then have to deal with humanity and all that comes with it. I heard him yell at at least twenty people, kids mostly, to not bother the chickens.
Sometimes you are privileged enough to go to places where the best you can feel is like a trespasser. That something that beautiful and amazing is undeserved in this life. Roadside parking always makes me feel like I am getting ready to do something unlawful. Like there isn’t even a parking lot here, people, so we are just going in rouge. That is not really the case for Honolua Bay, but the parking lot, such as it were, can hold like three cars. And that is super intentional.
The walk through the densely forested path lends a feeling of gravity. Like a crescendo building, right before you are released onto a rocky shore with crystalline blue water lapping at the shore. I immediately never wanted to leave. So I kind of went from intrepid trespasser to wanting to squat there for the rest of my life.
We snorkeled with turtles and so many fish I can’t even begin to count. It was a lovely, sunny day with air that felt like a soft, tender hug. I am a big fan of all weather that doesn’t feel like weather at all.
I am not sure what my experience would have been had I been able to experience this place solo, my preferred method of travel, but experiencing with my daughter and her friend was so wonderful. Her friend has been super nervous about the ocean and snorkeling, feeling more unsafe than excited. But Honolua Bay made that all change for her as we swam the waters with a peaceful abiding.
It was a glorious day. One that will live in my mind for a long time. I am blessed like that. Almost total recall of places I have been that have touched my soul in this way. All I have to do is close my eyes, and I am transported back: waterfall skinny dips with my friend Elizabeth in North Carolina last fall, beautiful hikes in my own back yard, Alaska mountain tops with my friend Stephanie. I can revisit all these places again and again. And now Honolua Bay becomes another memory for me. A place I can escape to which I still seem to need to live life. I mean my escape routes have gotten better as I used to only have whatever wild shitty reality existed at the end of a fifth of Jack. Today I have waterfalls, protected coves, tree covered trails, and mountain tops with goats. Such a better reality today.
And all of this leaves me with a feeling of grace - unearned merit. I did everything wrong to get this life. I zig when I should have zagged. I destroyed when I should have healed. I am so not worthy of this life I have, and yet, I have become worthy somehow. And it can only be grace.
Which is why I named my daughter, Grace. She and her brother the best example of unearned merit I can come up with. I am in awe of my children. Both of them doing so well navigating the parts of their lives that I used only as a time to really crank up the self destruction. My son has done his share too, but he seems to have gotten a message about life and his part in it, much earlier than me. I pray this is so. It is today so I will take it.
My daughter turns 15 in three days. This tiny human grown into a gorgeous teen has changed me and given me so much. I am honored that I get to bring her here and show her all of the wonders of Maui and spend time doing everything and nothing at the same time.
As we drove away from our sanctioned trespass of Honolua Bay yesterday, I found myself feeling so grateful and alive. Walking back to the car, life took on new meaning for me. I felt connected to her and to my life in a way and manner that was different than when I walked in. I had a reverance, a joyous abiding that felt peaceful and calm. Such a good feeling that has stayed with me since we left.
We took the long road home, traipsing up the coastline of Maui on a tiny road that was perilous at every turn. We had the top down, listening to music, singing, and taking it all in. I am not sure what the teenagers felt, but I felt ageless. I felt the timelessness of Honolua Bay, its stalwart place in time and space unalterable even by a ton of foot traffic by humans that often care more about getting the picture than genuflecting in front of the wonder that resides beneath our feet.
I felt like a trespasser again, like I often do in life. Like this is not the life I should have, or the feelings I should be able to conjure. It isn’t that I do not feel worthy of a good life, I do. But to see a place like that, how can one feel anything less than a trespasser?
So I trespassed the holiness of Honolua Bay. And I am changed. And that is the best worship I think I can give to a place like that. I can be present enough to see that there are just magical places on this earth that can and will change you, even while you trespass, if you have taken the time and space to create one inside you. Holy ground only persists when there are people who are capable of honoring the holiness and recognizing that when presented with a place like that, all you can ever do is trespass.