This is an exert from my book Elementally Speaking, Stone and Earth Narratives. If you’ve found it then you’re probably just read The Return and was wondering about what the land had to say before. I hope you enjoy this passage as it explains how the feels about its place in the islands past and the future beautifully.
KoOlina, located about twenty-five mileswestof the Honolulu airport, is a relatively new complex of lazy lagoons, beautiful sunsets and fabulous vacation opportunities. Once just a tiny seaside town, in the late 1990’s it began the monumental growth one sees today. The area consists of new homes, golf courses and various hotels, which among other things offers ‘time share opportunities.’ Because of this family friendly option, KoOlina has now become one of Oahu’s newest and hottest holiday destinations. Even with this growth there are still large parcels of vacant land available for future developments. Since the area is located on what’s referred to as ‘the dry side of the island,’ the surrounding vegetation is sparse and the land is basically made up of sand and volcanic stones.
As I looked out over the azure blue ocean, my body planted securely on a huge parcel of flattened land in KoOlina, a newer resort area just outside of Honolulu, I was keenly aware that all around me was vacant land; abruptly bare and ready to become a new resort or housing development. When I surveyed this immense and perfectly vacant area of earth that surrounded me, I felt a sense of freedom, but also a loss for what the land had been before it became so vulnerable, so benign.
Unfortunately, most people can’t see the beauty in a large expanse of vacant land, only what can be done to change it. So in keeping with this idea they generally accomplish this by following these few basic steps…
First they buy the land so as to make it theirs exclusively. Once that task has been accomplished, they alter the land to fit into whatever their idea of ‘the perfect surroundings’ should look like. The problem is, being Hawaii, the finished project tends to look a lot like it probably did before the land was cleared in the first place.
Then again, and this is generally the case, if having the monetary means to accomplish this purpose isn’t available, most people settle instead for the next best option… owning a very small piece of the desired land instead. In Hawaii, and most other beautiful places in the world, the easiest and least expensive way to do this is to buy what’s called a time share. By doing this, it’s then possible to own a tiny portion of the land that has your name written all over it… if only for a few days a year.
Of course by the time the builders have finished with it, that gorgeous hunk of land that you’d originally fallen in love with will now most likely be covered over by a huge multi leveled complex, complete with concrete walkways and valet parking. With any luck, it may be surrounded by a new group of Nature Spirits, typically members of the plant kingdom… imported, of course, from some place other than where they were in the beginning.
Now don’t get me wrong, I adore going to different places and seeing Nature in all her glory. Shamefully, I’m happiest staying right in the thick of things. In fact, I’m one of those dreadful people referred to as ‘time share poor.’ This means I own more than one of those tiny, time sensitive parcels of land I just wrote about. At this point you’re probably thinking she’s such a hypocrite, right? Why? Is it because I can’t help myself from falling in love with the Nature Spirits that call that land home? Or maybe it’s because I want to make that place, (which should have been left in peace in the first place) or part of it, mine that bothers you? Which ever it is, you may be right.
Like many people, I was born with the need to be part of Mother Nature’s majestically beautiful world, presented to me (and most of you reading this) as only she can. Nature has always had a way of overwhelming us with a deep seeded urge to stake out a claim in her beauty, thus luring us to possess a piece of her world. This insures, at least in our minds, that when this is done we can always return to her lush world year after year.
Yet, when you think about it, Nature is everywhere; from the familiarity of ones own back garden, to the neighborhood park around the corner. The only difference is, any place green not connected to where we live always seems closer to Mother Nature somehow. Maybe it’s because we’re more relaxed, away from the day to day living and out of our element that makes us tend to notice her more in those places, and why we seem to connect to her world more easily.
Unfortunately, that’s too bad…or is it? What if having that bit of paradise where you feel that special connection isn’t so terrible after all… even if that place happens to be an overbuilt resort?
In search of a definitive answer, I gave myself the assignment of asking the land where I now sat what it thought about eventually being built upon. How did it feel about the people that would eventually become part of their new world? What was its feelings about being changed from what it was before, to what it inevitably would become? Could it possibly like what was happening; the feel of human footsteps on its scared field of memories? One Nature Spirit in particular, a very old and famous iconic Banyan Tree at The Moana Surfrider Hotel, once told me that physical contact with the human race was what kept it alive. The tree called it Their(Nature’s) Gift of Purpose. I wondered if that was still true and if it was, did it also include vacant land. And so I asked.
This is what The Land at KoOlina had to say.
In my words
The land changes… and like the wind each direction it blows brings with it a flow, a new life within a reality that is unchanged, but still different somehow. Within these worlds of possibilities many things begin and end, each exploring ways to grow and the ever changing question of what’s real in one’s life. These changes offer challenges that enable growth. They are given to us all… not only in the world we can see, but also in others we cannot.
Depending on what one is searching for, the ability to accept and decide one’s path, existence and the time to do this is always within reach. Therefore, by living together with you now, Nature Spirits like us (the surface of the land you can see) exist in your world always aware of what’s needed to move forward. We accept what we must do to make this happen.
Never the same, but also unchanged, we…the land (the surface, which is only a small part of what you can see) will once again start over within your world. Like infinity, Nature never ends, and the changes made are worthwhile only if one accepts them as such. If one’s mind is open, it can go beyond what it has been handed and become something more…something better or more connected than what was expected from its former self.
Does changing one’s appearance alter one’s ability to feel, think or love? Does it change what our ancestors did in the past? We think not, and so what we were and what we have become remains an ever lasting tribute to the Great Mother that rules us all.
As humankind has learned, all of Nature adapts just as it has over the countless ages it has lived on this planet. You are always looking for reasons why Nature has become what it is now, never realizing that change, in any form, comes whether one wants it to or not. Human growth, and that of all beings, Nature included, can be explained if one understands the trials and setbacks we have all faced over time, and then again within the growth process. By accepting these changes, one also accepts the inevitable.
If a human is dressed and then removes his clothes, he feels free. It is like this for our beings as well. If they are forced into a confined space they will still live, but the newness of now being restricted will bother them. Nevertheless, we all accept it for what it is, a connection that will benefit both your world and ours. Others in our world feel differently, because even here there are those that believe that freedom is everything and that spiritual growth isn’t as important. At times this issue is totally reasonable. Still, to know a difference, to feel another world within yours, brings about a kind of independence of growth. Why? Because one is part of something new; a change different then before.
It is true that ancient people have walked here before, that villages existed and lives were lost, changed and reborn on this sacred ground. They are gone now, a temporary world lost in time. Once again a new breed will arrive, altering but never changing what we are. Because challenges are given to everyone, this is ours…to enfold ourselves into a foreign world that brings with it another kind of knowledge different from any we have ever experienced before. We exist because The One that respects all things is happy we are alive. We celebrate anything that brings us nearer to The Purpose, which is to be one with all beings and in all worlds.
Unlike our cousins in the Plant Kingdom, we do more because we are the foundation on which your world exists. We are the keepers of the ancient knowledge, each experience only a page in the book of this planet, several volumes old yet far from complete. Accepting is nothing more than believing, and we do so because we are the land… the earth that makes up this planet. We will grow just as you do, but we will be here long after the structures that will be built on this ancient place exist.
Like the Banyan tree that welcomes human touch so it can continue to survive, we also wish for new experiences different from what we remember. Though the ancient records recorded what happened in the past when places like this once existed, those days are over. Yet they will rise again full of hope, like a population that too quickly accepts what it cannot have.
Nature is forgiving and so accepts things with the deepest gratitude. She knows that only through change can growth truly succeed. Come in peace and accept that the land welcomes everyone who will honor and protect its legacy, entrusted with the beliefs of those that came before. We are the lands near the sea. May we remain until the Great Mother no longer exists.
This passage is definitely about change. What surprised me most was that the land accepts being built on as a new experience to grow, instead of an invasion, as I would have expected. I found the lands response rather romantic when it said it rather liked being enfolded into our world. Of course it did add that it would exist even when what we built no longer did. Over and over Nature has told us that it will be here long after our civilization, and ones like it, no longer exist. In fact, it already has. As long as Mother Nature rules this planet, the Nature Spirits will be here to serve and protect her.
Of course without Mother Nature we wouldn’t survive anyway. Unfortunately, we seem to have forgotten that, and from what I’ve seen of her fury recently, she’s getting quite tired of what we’re doing to her planet. Luckily, after finally seeing Mother Natures light at the end of a dark tunnel, I think many of us are trying to change. And like the first ray of sun in the morning, I think the world is awaking to the fact that if we destroy Nature we are also destroying ourselves. Hopefully it’s not too late.
I loved how the land explained that just because something changes doesn’t alter what or who they are. There’s a lesson there for all of us. Though things may change all around us, if one’s beliefs remain true, then the knowledge they gain from following their own ‘path of truth’ will lead them to what the Nature Spirits call The Purpose. In case you’ve forgotten, that means to be one with all beings, and in all worlds.
Sounds like a good thing to me. Cheri