Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Wild Pigs of Kona


     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.

The Wild Pigs of Kona


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.

Chainsaws

I went to the post office today with my chainsaw. Ryan asked if I would cut off the dead branches on the old Willow tree in Front. It had long ago served its purpose and now it had become an eyesore. I reflected on other majestic willow trees I had seen with their long swaying branches gracefully arching to the ground near a small stream or grassy meadow. Magnificent sentinels shading a pleasant summer picnic or young lovers. All of us who live here have noticed the old tree. The few branches that were left were bare sticks now. I filled the chainsaw with gas and oil and started it up. It is a man thing. Noise and power. I revved it up and let the carburetor clear the excess oil from starting. I was in my glory, me and my Stihl chain saw. I backed my truck closer so that I could stand on the tail gate and reach a little higher. As each of the branches fell, I had a new appreciation for the beauty of that old dead tree. I finished with the chainsaw and had a revelation. I started peeling off the dead bark. I was able to remove almost all the bark. When I finished, I stood back and looked again at that old eyesore. It was now beautiful to me. The rich grain of the wood. The variations in color. It reminded me of a majestic grandfather. Several people commented to me about the change. Two asked if I was going to cut it down. Another said the firewood wouldn’t be very good.
As I thought about the various comments from the postal patrons, I remembered some other dead trees that I had seen in Albuquerque.
Every year around the 4th of July, the firework stands start showing up. This year was a particularly dry year for Albuquerque, New Mexico. I was living close by the Bosque. That is name of the river corridor that passes through Bernalillo, Corrales, and Albuquerque. The cotton from the cottonwood trees was thick on the ground. Walking along the nature trail was one of our favorite activities when we lived there. I kept a yearly zoo pass for several years after I moved. We would visit several times a year when I returned to do work. The Albuquerque Zoo backed backed up to the bosque and we would ride our bikes through the trees along the river trail and enjoy the beauty on our way to the Zoo. The river trail area was an oasis of nature in the middle of the city.
That year some young boys had decided to light the cotton fluff and watch it burn. Before they could stop the spread of the fire, it had gotten out of their control. The fire burned many acres of precious native wood land and left the trees burned, scorched and dying. It was so sad to drive over Montano bridge each day and see the dead trees. It was heart breaking. It took many months before a plan was agreed upon to repair the river corridor and the nature trails. Volunteers showed up to plant new cottonwood trees and hundreds were planted to replace some of the destroyed trees. Many of those old trees were approaching a hundred years old or more. The crews came in and began to cut and haul away the dead trees. Some were left for the birds and animals to use as homes. 
There was a small cluster of trees right next to the road that were left. It was next to a parking area for the nature trail. I watched for weeks and wondered why these trees had been left standing. One day as I drove by I noticed some activity. There was a lone man with a chain saw. He was cutting a tree. I could only glance for a moment because the traffic was moving and I had to move. The next day, there he was again, working on the same tree. I watched over the next weeks and months and years as this man worked on those trees. I have since visited that site many times to see the beauty of those dead, scorched and burned trees. This lone man with a chain saw had a vision of those trees. He saw them as undiscovered works of art and helped to release them from their confinement of charred and blackened tombs.
That old willow tree in front of the post office is now a symbol to me of the hidden beauty that lies within each of us. The years of growth often leave scars and disease upon our bodies and our spirits. But when the right Craftsman comes along in our life, he is able to transform our dying, eyesore, neglected tree into a magnificent sculpture. Revealing the hidden and neglected treasures within. 
Thank you Ryan, for allowing me to be reminded of such a valuable lesson in life.  Not to judge the outer scars of life, but to see the inner beauty of each masterpiece of the Master Craftsman.

Black and White


I watched a program last night called John Doe. It is based on the life of a man who has lost his memories and is desperately trying to find clues from anyone who might be able to help him. He has another disadvantage in not being able to see colors. He is color blind. The plot of the movie allows him to see occasional colors when he begins to get closer to people or places that connect him to his past. The series is almost 10 year old and I found it on Hulu. I am on episode 7 now and find that I am drawn in by its main character, John.
John and I are much the same. I have learned many lessons in my life from the movies that I am drawn to watch. I missed this series when it came out 10 years ago. The timing is just right for me to see the messages now. The amazing thing about the universe and the world is the way in which we learn. When the student is ready, the teacher will arrive. 
I used to see the world in black and white, back when I thought I knew everything.  I lived for 2 years in New England, supported by my family and friends. I began with a polarized view of life and the teachings of only one way of life. I found myself involved in some very heated discussions about who was right and who was wrong. I was right, of course, and they were wrong. My view of right and wrong, good and evil, was based on my childhood experiences and the teachings I had been taught. 
I was handicapped in my understanding of life and the richness that life had to offer. I was color blind. Like John, I was drawn to experiences and people that could help me understand more about my true self.
Those two years were perfect in every way for me. It was a softening of my soul where a blending of many teachings began. Those 2 years were the beginning of my discovery of who I am. 
While watching the program I could feel my awareness shift, just enough to get my attention. I paused the show and listened to the quiet. This shifting of my awareness is one of the clues that alerts me to a teaching experience. I waited, anticipating the Ah-Ha moment. It didn’t materialize until this morning and my waking experience. The time between dream time and awake time. It is where I can sometimes reach back through the veil and retrieve some of the nights teachings. Many of my most profound teachings have come to me in the dreams of the night. The emotions are more vivid in those dream experiences. The clarity of the thoughts are amazing. I find I have to be quick to record the information in my conscious mind before it fades. This morning I was able to grasp the teaching of the night and realize that I am John Doe. At least I was. 
I had another Epiphany two days ago. It happened while I was walking down the lane across the creek. I had the sudden realization that Pearlene had given me a great gift in her death. It hit me hard and I wept. For long moments I allowed the tears to flow, with only the cows and the horses to witness this emotion. The sweet feelings of her love and comfort and presence were there with me. She whispered to me, “I did this for you.” 
“I died so that you might live. I wanted you to see the colors of life in all its variety. To experience the richness of emotions. You and I lived a life that was perfect for us, one of sharing and connection and love. It is now time for you to stop seeing the world in Black and White. Share your feelings and share the intimate experiences that we have lived. Allow others to see the richness of the Colors of life through your eyes. Open your heart and pour out the lessons that were heaven sent. I will always be with you, to walk with you and watch over you. My gift to you is the gift of the heart.  Your open heart can learn and grow and share and teach. Live in the heart and share from the heart. All the colors of the rainbow will beautify your life and bring joy and fulfillment that could not have been experienced while I was with you.”
The experiences of life are always multi faceted. There are many reasons for her death, only some that I am now beginning to see. This was her gift to me. The gift of sight, through the heart. I will continue to walk through life living from the heart. The colors are so much more vivid and intense. My connection to all the colors of the rainbow are giving me the experience of a lifetime ...