Monday December 29, 2008
I performed the wedding between 9AM and 12 Noon today. The location was beautiful. Right on a hotel lawn beside the ocean, but it was so windy! I lament for the people who plan these expensive and romantic outdoor weddings, only to have rain, fog, wind or even fire disrupt the event. I will never forget the wedding I did in Southern California with the ash raining down. What a mess. I have seen wind so many times and it is frustrating because I cannot do a nice wedding in 30 MPH winds. Outdoor weddings are always unpredictable. At any rate the wedding was completed as best as I possibly could without a fire. After the ceremony I took lunch with the families and then went to explore more of Maui. My hotel room expired at 11AM and now I have no place to stay. I have only Maui to return to and my flight is not until 11PM! Fortunately I still have my rental car, so I am going on an adventure into the heart of Maui. Let me sit in the fields and watch the clouds dance with volcano’s.
Maui is two worlds, the modern and the ancient. The first is filled with tourism, hotels and commercialism. It is a rational world, and the wedding I came to perform was a product of this world. The second is a traditional world filled with indigenous people and their culture and history. It is a mythological realm and you see remnants of it in the smiles of the people, in the names of the towns and streets, and on the historical plaques. On my arrival in Maui Saturday evening it was late and it was necessary to drive from the airport to where I was staying in Lahaina in the dark. I had no idea of the land I was passing through. Yesterday as my car took me up into hills to see friends I saw this island for the first time. Now I want to see more.
This is a magical land of ocean, volcano’s, clouds and sky, and it is the rainy season now. Maui overpowers the senses. There are huge storm clouds filled with lightning, which are dark and imposing, and when these clouds touch the sharp peaks of the volcano’s the effect is magical and seductive. The volcano becomes alive with the flash of lightning and the sound of thunder, which is like the riotous sound of gods. Everywhere the sound of the surf breaking on the beach can be heard. The ocean is a vast blanket that surrounds this island. You see it everywhere. Flowers adorn this place and the scent of jasmine, magnolia and honeysuckle fills the air. The sea blesses this land with food and riches. The weather is perfect, not hot, not cold, not even humid. The air is surcharged with vitality. It is a bountiful and perfect place. Indeed, Maui is a land of divinities and the story of its people is a history of the play between the people and their gods. Maui moves the mind in mythological ways.
Driving towards the volcanos my eyes sweep out across the landscape allowing me to feel the mystical power of this land. My mind is gently pulled into a new state of awareness. Most tourists, to be sure, never think about these things, but the effect is there just the same, and this is surely one of the reasons they come. Everyone senses the magic of this place. Not surprisingly, I felt this same pull on the mind in Greece and, even today, in the deserts of Southern California. These are special places and the mythologies of the world, and perhaps even religion itself, arise from the mysterious interaction between nature and the inner being of man. Places like this are especially able to open the mind.
Sitting in a field at the base of a volcano, the grass shimmers in the breeze like an emerald sea. Above me the peak of the volcano is smothered by clouds that move in circles like gypsies performing a dance of love. My eyes see the silver streaks of lightning in the black clouds and my ears hear the sound of thunder rolling into the valleys below. The sun is warm on my back when suddenly the radiance of a rainbow bursts forth in a smile celebrating this dance of love. To my right the ocean is as blue as anyone can imagine. In this state, nature easily overpowers and breaks down the barriers of my rational mind. Witnessing this dance of love, I feel like the yaksha, the spirit being, in Kalidasa’s Meghaduta; my imagination goes wild seeing a world of possibilities. Yet I am calm, freed of the fetters of rational thought. There is peace here and I exist in a state of wonder.
Places like Maui are a wonderland and they have taught me how to find the source of imagination within myself. Human consciousness is endlessly mutable and, ever so slowly, I am moving away from my old ways of thinking and learning to swim in this new ocean of imagination and opportunities.