Last weekend was one of unplugging and heading to the beautiful community of Hana on the eastarn edge of Maui. So isolated is the community, that at the height of the recent pandemic lockdown there was a road block established to prevent all but local residents from traveling out there, thus protecting their vulnerability. Along with my wife and a few friends, we spent the day at Hamoa Beach, enjoying its crystal clear waters. We left early in the day, some of our party cycling out there. With our early departure the road was empty, though truth be told nothing about the day was busy due the pandemic and no or few visitors being on the island.
By mid-afternoon we were beached out and ready to head home before sunset. A quick stop on the edge of town for an energizing coffee and cake and then into the twists and turns of the road to Hana.
The Road to Hana
The road to Hana is a justifiable attraction for visitors to the island. The lush vegetation overhanging the road, the waterfalls, and views across the ocean make for a very special experience. As well, with the twists and turns of the road, the drive requires concentration. After a day in fresh air I was tired, and along with the road dancing between shade and sunlight caused by the late afternoon sun, I found the never ending bends in the road exhausting. Arriving home, I had enjoyed the day and at the same time I was pleased that the drive home was over.
The Bird and the Window
With everyone on their ways to their respective homes, I unpacked the car, took a shower and sat down to rest. I could still feel the drive home in me.
Suddenly there was a bang on the window. Getting up I saw a small bird on the ground. It must have flown straight into the window and was twitching on the ground. I went outside to see if it had survived the collision. Reluctant to be picked up, but unable to fly in that moment, it flapped its way across the ground every time that I reached down to it. Eventually I picked up the bird and went to sit on the grass and cradle the little creature in my hands.
Initially the bird struggled and flapped some more, but eventually it calmed down and fell silent. Although its eyes were closed, I could see that it was still breathing. With the sun setting the day was cooling down. The wind was quietening and a special stillness was falling over the property that only comes with dusk. As the bird calmed, so did I. The drive home faded from memory. Just being present with the bird, the landscape, the air and myself became what was.
For a moment I became aware how we can be somewhere, but not there. Not present to what is immediate in that moment.
As I sat there quietly holding the bird, I became more present to my environment - the stillness of the air, the wispy seed heads of the vetiver grass, the colours of the sky as the sunset, the tiny feathers of the bird and their intricate patterns. There was no adding to my being there. I was simply present.
With time, I got up and gently placed the bird, still resting, in a large plant pot. That way it would be off the ground and out of site of any night time predators, and at the same time could still rest.
The next day it was not there. I like to think that it had recovered and flown away.