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The stories in air and water

We Keiki O Ka Aina, children of Hawaii, are taught that everything in nature, the air, water, earth, trees, rocks, plants, and all living things are alive. Because of this, I feel my stories are gifts from nature.

When I am home in the San Francisco Bay area, the wind that whistles through the crack in the window is the voices of home calling me to remember the land where I was born. When I walk out to the bay, I imagine the brisk wind and fog have traveled across the Pacific to caress my cheeks and bring me tales of home.

It is the wind that speaks to me most in Hawaii. At night when darkness reigns, I throw open the window and feel the thick humid air of the trade winds whisper the words that become my stories. I hear the sing-song of the elders speaking Pidgin, the rustle of palm fronds, and the beat of waves upon the shore. In the warm trades the ghosts, for there are many in Hawaii, walk the paths they used during their lifetime. In the valleys of Manoa and Nu`uanu we can hear their voices echo from mountain to mountain. On the night of Pokane, three days after the full moon, the torches of the alii, our kings, queens, their royal court and courteries, and the kahuna (priests), can be seen floating along the royal paths.
When I was a child I did not know that the images I saw outside my windows were the Nightwalkers. I did not know that the voices I heard were theirs, that my bedroom was right next to their path. Perhaps this is why I have so many nightmares. Yet this is probably why my dreams take me to so many worlds, to so many lives: racing from ancient volcanoes, paddling through tropical jungles, outrunning towering tsunamis.

But water, in the rain and the sea calls the loudest. Whenever it rains, we say it is the tears of the gods. And since it rains daily in Nu`uanu, the gods cry for us often.

When I are gone from Hawai`i’s shore, I miss the sea the most. The even curl of the summer waves on the south shore provides us with easy, fun surf to play in. The sixty-foot waves of winter deafen us with their thunder and fill the air with salt spray that coats everyone and everything.

I am never far from home and never short of stories for the wind and water, the plants and earth all have tales to tell. They are a gift to us all, but especially to storytellers who have the gift to listen.



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