He is whistling and wearing a brown wide-brimmed hat, shorts and sandals. It’s our twenty-something son, aka His Majesty, who is now living in Puna, too, and was just dropped off at our house after hiking at the ocean with 20 other yoga enthusiasts he works with at Kalani Retreat Center, a 40 minute drive south of here. He looks like a hippie.
“Hey, Dude!” shouts the Bearded One from the lanai where he has laid out the gillion pieces of our new barbecue His Majesty has blessedly agreed to assemble.
I look out the kitchen window and scream, “He’s here!” as if this is the Second Coming of Jesus Himself. It could just be this week, but there’s sure a lot of religion on this island. Native Hawaiians are a spiritual people, and so are the Japanese and Filipinos who live here. Whites or haoles are a minority. There is a small church of some kind on every other corner in Hawaiian Paradise Park. Nothing big.
On Tuesday, I meet Emily Naeole in the laundromat, candidate for County Council and as she says, “on a mission from God.”
She is my age, 57-years-old, native Hawaiian, and full of the Holy Spirit. We talk story a bit, and then we hug and say goodbye before she starts praying with a spiritual hippie couple our ages who we met earlier.
We go to the grocery store and an elderly Japanese man helps me find a coffee dripper cup, and when I laugh and use the word “lucky”, he is horrified. “No luck,” he says and points up. It was God, is all I can understand. But he is adamant.
I finish our neighbor Jim’s novel and return it to him with compliments for his story and spunk. It turns out he is not only a survivalist and a 79-year-old first time novelist, but also a minister of the Ten Commandments and contributes daily on Christian websites. His truck bumper stickers proclaim his religious beliefs plainly.
Then there are the so-called Punatics — the army of hippies young and old who are socially active for Mother Nature in Puna. The hot issues I’ve detected so far are GMOs and Geothermal energy. Marijuana is illegal, but widely used and minimally prosecuted. Political signs show lots of young politicians. One of the WWOOFers at the farm we stayed at for seven weeks is a Rasta. He actually cut his calf-length dreads while we were there. Fifteen years of growth. He will never ever cut his long beard, though.
Spiritual seekers really do seem to congregate here.
“Hi, Sweetie,” I say and give His Majesty a huge hug. He takes off his hat and he’s sunburned, except for his head which is just short of shaved bald.
I cut up a white pineapple,
which the Bearded One harvested earlier from our acre where there are hundreds, and which our neighbor Jim says are so good you can eat the core. I agree with him on this.
The three of us talk on the lanai and munch and watch hundreds of giant black carpenter bees hover around the nearby dead tree that is their palace. Like flying ping-pong balls. They’re a tropical island bee and not aggressive to humans, just to wood. We watch them a lot. “It’s a Zen thing,” says the Bearded One.
We tell all our news – plans to cut new windows upstairs with Tom on Thursday,
ordering the water catchment tank, the delay of delivery of the thin-film solar panels and the big generator for the solar batteries until mid-July, and the successful installation last weekend of the Eccotemp tankless propane hot water heater which works great.
His Majesty will have a shower later, he says. After he assembles the barbecue.
But before the barbecue, we go back inside and he lays a big baggie of Kalani granola — he works in the kitchen — on the counter for me and starts doing yoga on the kitchen floor. He tells me about teaching his first yoga classes.
Seven people came to one of his 6am classes. They all liked it, he says, and are spreading the word.