Notes from Kohala, Hawaii

With straw hat and dark glasses, I went for a walk along the beach, breathing deeply the fresh air.

We have carved a few days from our home life to live our away life.  The change of routines, the change of scene, the time to read and reflect, give us new visions, new ways of seeing the world in which we live.

This Septuagesima Sunday, the sea-washed sand, packed hard and dense, gleamed, mirroring the morning sun.  I stepped with bare feet upon the packed-down shore, following the edge of the shallows slipping in, then out.  I walked on the border of sea and land and soon my flesh was washed by the rhythmic action of the waters.

It was a glistening time, an hour of clear skies and unbroken sunshine, the air moist and sweet, and I felt as though I was carried along the shoreline by invisible wings.  As I walked I glanced out to sea, to the deep royal blue horizon, where a few cumulus could barely be seen, hanging low, hovering over the waters.  Between me and those distant deep blues, variant shades of turquoise painted the cove with wide brush strokes, until, nearing the gleaming sands under my feet, the water grew light and clear, and the twinkling diamonds of the sea that bathed the land danced a hymn to God.

The hymn of sparkles swirled upon the shallows and a chorus of surf gathered and rolled and tumbled.  The tide pulled the waters out and the surf pounded, matching my own tempo, my bare feet arcing, cradling the sand, my heels bearing down, the balls of my feet moving me forward, my toes propelling me on.

I passed children playing in the waters, screeching with delight as they eyed the teasing surf, some held by parents also mesmerized by the sea, its beauty, its calling pull, its pulling call.  Watchers stood in wonder, gazing upon the ocean kingdom, touched by another realm.  Man and the sea met as though for the first time, tentatively, yet with recognition.

I stepped along the edge of the sea, glancing now over the land, the beach rising to the lawn, the lawn spreading to the hotel that rested under an azure sky stroked by palms crowning tall bare trunks.  I moved through a painting of color and sound and soft scents borne on breezes, and watched the sun mirrored on the gleaming sand.

The golden spot moved with me, just ahead, and I followed it until, as I turned with the curve of the shore, it disappeared into the sands.  I padded on, slipping through the foamy shallows, to the black lava bordering the cove, the rush of the sea upon my ears.

I turned to see the half-moon of the beach bordering the cove, joining the sea and the land.  From there at the far edge of black rock, the ocean reared and crested and dashed.  I could not see the gentle sliding of the waters, the caressing of the shore.  A red flag waved in the breeze, warning swimmers of powerful undertows.

The sea is his and he made it, and his hands prepared the dry land.  What would God show me here, nestled in this gentle bay with these roaring winter waters?  I prayed for ears to hear and eyes to see.  I prayed, take not thy Holy Spirit from me.

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