I was eating an avocado today enjoying the rich creamy texture of the Haas variety. I usually use some fresh lemon with a dash of salt for seasoning. Today I didn’t have a lemon so I ate the fruit right out of the skin. It tasted to good to me on this day. Sitting in the sun on my back porch brought back memories of my porch in Kona, Hawaii.
We lived on Hiona Street in Holualoa. Our home sat nestled amongst giant Monkey Pod trees at the 1200 foot elevation on the Hualalai volcano. An active volcano on the West side of the Big Island. I was caretaker of a beautiful custom built home with a full wrap around porch.
I had agreed to be caretaker for 6 months with an option to extend indefinitely. Overlooking the ocean view side of our home were two large avocado trees. They were loaded with large meaty avocados. The trees were 50 to 60 feet tall with most of the avocados out of reach. Each night there would be 20 or 30 avocados fall to the ground. I would pick them up and put the spoiled ones in the compost pile where the mongoose would come to pick over the days scraps.
When we first arrived, we ate avocados for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It was heaven for an avocado lover like me. After 2 or 3 weeks I soon grew tired of Avocados. I took some to the weekly farmers market down near the post office, but didn’t care to sit all day for a few dollars.
Hiona street was on a 18% grade. For those who don’t know what that means, it means really steep. You had to ride the brakes all the way down the hill to our home. When we went for a walk, it was a good cardiovascular workout. Both up the hill and down. Usually each day there would be avocados from other neighbors rolling down the hill. I could count on several each day. There are over 500 different varieties of avocados and they each have a unique flavor and texture.
I wasn’t the only one to notice the avocado’s. The pigs of Kona stayed mostly in the underbrush and out of sight. The Kona region has been in a severe draught for several years and the best place for worms and tender roots were in the yards and lawns on the homes. The pigs could come into a yard and overnight destroy the entire lawn and landscape. We could always tell where the pigs had been when we drove around the island. They loved avocados and could smell them when they were ripe.
When they showed up at our home, I was concerned and called the gardener to get his advice. The gardener came once a week and took care of the coffee trees and the other plants and flowers. My job as caretaker was to write the checks and feed the cat. It was a great job. When the pigs started to dig up the yard I went to the post office to ask for a reference. They gave me the number of a local trapper who came and set his large trap. It was the size of a dog kennel, the chain link style kind. Over the next few weeks we caught 5 pigs. One night as we were sitting in the patio area we saw a mother with tiny piglets run down the sidewalk to pick over the avocados that had dropped, they were so cute.
We decided to go for a hike up on top of Hualalai. Up where the cloud forest was. It was beautiful there. You could see Maui in the distance and the ocean far below. We wanted to see the Hawaiian honey creepers. The one’s with the curved beak. We began our hike with the sun shinning and the clear sky above. We packed a lunch and planned to spend the day there. We followed a trail that wound through the trees and the grassy meadows. We discovered plants and flowers that we had not seen down below. The lilikoi vines were growing up through some of trees. The fruits were hanging down so I picked and ate several as we hiked. The day was going well until we came over a hill and spotted a large wild bore that was using the same trail. He stopped and we stopped and for a moment neither knew what to do. He turned and ran, and we turned and ran. Each in opposite directions. The clouds lowered and in our haste to get away, I lost my bearings and started down the wrong way. Pearlene said she thought we should go the other way. We discussed the choices, my ego didn’t want to give in to her, but a small voice told me to listen to her spiritual radar. We soon found our way back to the trail again. My original direction would have taken us to the wrong part of the forest and we would have remained lost there for some time before the clouds lifted or we hiked all the way to the bottom of the mountain to find the road. The pigs of Kona can be aggressive and the male have tusks that can cut and tear if they choose to attack. I was glad for Pearlene’s spiritual radar and the help in finding our way back to the trail.
It was not the first time we felt that internal radar on the island. There were other times that I heard noises in the night and started to go outside, the gentle whisperings of that spiritual radar said to me, “Don’t go out. There is danger.” Upon checking the next morning, I would find that the pigs had been there. I was grateful for that warning and protection. Sometimes I think of the hundreds of avocados that were on those trees, especially when the price here is 2 or 3 dollars. Someday I will go back and visit my home there on Hawaii. Whenever I travel, I alway’s make sure my spiritual radar is working and activated. The pigs of Kona are not the only dangers in life.