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Thursday, April 30, 2020

Ke Ao...


Ho'omaha...


Rest, Respite, Comfort, at Ease, Free from Pain...

Mothers...


Tonight I choose to celebrate Beautiful Carmen, also knows as "Aunty Honey", a matriarch of the Nae'ole 'ohana. I am not sure if I ever posted or shared this particular photo because as a photographer, it had technical issues. However, it serves no purpose as a bunch of "ones and zeros" in digital format on one of my many back up drives. To share is to give it Life. To give her Life.

After losing my own Precious Mother in 2010, I was surprised at home many Beautiful Mothers entered my own Life to Beautifully help to fill that powerful void and help me Heal. Aunty Honey reminded so much of my own Beautiful Mother in so many large and small ways.

Through Loving her, I was able to help Love my own Mother, here on this physical Realm, in physical form again, until Carmen's passing two years ago.

I am grateful for having the Beautiful Na'eole 'ohana in my Life. I am also very grateful for sharing their Beautiful Mother with all of us as I treasured my annual trips to Maui for the Celebration of the Arts at Kapalua where I could reconnect with so many Beautiful friends and see Carmen.

Thank you, especially from those of us needing a Beautiful and Precious reminder of our own Mothers. 

Thank you. Love you Aunty Honey. Say Hi to my Mom for me when you see her, and Give Her my Love...

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Hula...


Monday, April 27, 2020

Thunder...


Today I am Honoring and Celebrating my Beautiful Friend who is like a brother to me. He is still here and very much Alive fortunately, but why wait for someone's ho'olewa to let them know how much you appreciate them.

I first met John at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa while we were both attending college there. He was kind, humble, easy going and share my sense of humor.

A fellow kanaka, he had a rough upbringing. He and his family had been homeless at one time and lived in a bus on a vacant lot for quite a long time. He used to go out and sit under the streetlights on the neighborhood sidewalk to do his school homework in high school. One day, he came home and the bus, their home, had been towed away. He lost all of his belongings, clothes, photos, documents and other household possessions, to never be recovered.

He never complained about Life being unfair as long as I have known him. We both bought mountain bikes and would ride them to Diamond Head beach near Doris Duke's Shangri La Estate and Jim Neighbors' home as well. 

That was my snorkeling and fishing spot, but most of the time we would just lay on the sand and Sun ourselves. We were exercising and I had been going to the gym and lifting weights. John was very athletic and ran marathons. He was like a gazelle when he ran. I was like hippopotamus. 

Once we were both laying on the sand and in the blazing Sun. A bunch of girls walked past us and then we heard them laugh out loud as they ran down the beach. John and I both sat up. I looked at him and he looked at me. I noticed that he was entirely covered in coconut oil or some type of sun tan lotion. I was equally shiny. On our radio, David Bowie was singing "Space Oddity" and we both laughed out loud realizing that the Diamond Head "gay" and "nude" beach wasn't too far around the bend from us. We knew exactly what the girls had been thinking as they came upon us both laying there. That was the last of our Sunning there for awhile.

John loved playing drums and had a nice acoustic set. He didn't have a place to keep his drums other than storage so I let him set up his drums in my dorm room at UH. He would also crash and sleep in the living room there with us. My roommates were pretty good sports about it. 

The only time we could really play was during Friday and Saturday nights, and even then, he had practice pads covering his drum skins so they weren't too loud, and our guitar and bass amps were set down low as well. 

However, whenever there was a fire drill, mostly on Saturday afternoons, we would make a mad dash to the living room, like Firemen responding to a fire. We had a fire alarm bell right outside our room, so we would crank up the amps and he would remove the drum pads, and we would crank Metallica "Harvester of Sorrow" or "Enter Sandman" or some other crazy song, as loud as we could for about a minute or two. Nobody every complained. Although, one Saturday evening, I was so tired, that I chose to hide in my room closet when the alarm went off. The dorm monitor somehow opened the closet and found me in there. She was so mad. She made me leave right away and wrote me up. 

John served in the U.S. Army and then in the Army Reserves. He worked for the Department of Human Services too helping the less fortunate with their benefits where he still is today. 

He bought an apartment, rented it out and lived on a boat in the Ala Wai for a decade, paying off his mortgage. He then upgraded and lives in a really nice new condo in Kaka'ako. Not bad for a young Hawaiian who had a hard start in Life, through determination and hardwork.

He kept selling his boat and getting a bigger and more expensive one until he had a pretty large vessel that had room to live comfortably on and also speed out on the ocean. I only went out with him twice on his boat. 

The first time, he took me out into the deep sea off of Waikīkī.  It was pretty exciting as we went over the waves and out so far. I was kind of worried I would drown and die somehow, but it was still fun. When we came back in, he asked me to go onto the bow, or front, of his boat and help slow the boat as we came into his slip. 

He had be grab a collapsible pole and I quickly extended it and locked it into place, and put it out in front of us as we came into the slip, quite fast. He yelled for me to push it against the dock and help slow the boat. I did. The pole quickly collapsed, one segment at a time, then we hit the dock and I went flying over the bow and crashed into the slip utility box.

People around us were startled and some laughed. I felt like Gilligan and the Skipper. I was so embarrassed. We both got a good laugh out of it however later.

The next time, he asked me to help him get his boat to the Ala Wai Dry-dock which was right around the corner near the Ala Moana Blvd. Bridge. No deep sea boating. So jumping waves. It sounded like a short and simple trip. 

Well, we backed the boat up and started heading to the dry dock. It seemed like we were going a little too fast and then we started heading into the dock area and I could see a man there, yelling and waving at us to slow down. John tried to slow down as I went onto the bow of the boat. I made sure the extension pole was locked in place this time so it wouldn't collapse, all the while trying to keep my balance as we approached the dock was too fast for my comfort.

Sure enough, we crashed into the dock, and my pole didn't collapse like last time, but instead, catapulted me over the bow of the boat so I crash landed on the dock again. The man there yelled, "What the hell?!" I felt like Gilligan again. That was my last boat ride with my friend however.

So I found this photograph of when we went to Waipi'o Valley while in college. We found one of the largest coconuts I had ever seen floating right towards us in the ocean. So we made a Tina Turner wig out of it. Luckily, I don't think John has Facebook. Lucky for me. Hopefully he doesn't know about my Blog here either...

Anyway, that's how we roll. Like Tina Turner. Beyond Thunderdome...


Saturday, April 25, 2020

Kamananui...


I believe this photo was taken at Moanalua Gardens around 1969. I am going to try and find the same tree, if it is still there.

On the back of the photo, I discovered a note from my Mother, clearly her handwriting, which reads, "Doesn't Kai look grown up?"

Just wait until she sees me again in Heaven. I have really grown up...

Friday, April 24, 2020

Social Distancing...


My Mother and two sisters, Moana and Nalani, Social Distancing since 1965...

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Father...


Our Father, Elliott Raymond Markell, and his twin sister, Eleanor Markell...

Nostalgic...





If you ever wondered what Christmas Dinner was at the Kīlauea Military Camp, at Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park, in 1963, well, now you know....

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Happy Mother Earth Day...


Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Guardians...


Get to know your Spirit Guides. Your Guardian Angels. Your 'Aumakua. Your Life will only be Changed for the Beautifully Better...

Remembering Kalaupapa...


Monday, April 20, 2020

Ho'omaha...


I woke up early Sunday morning to use the restroom and get a drink of water. When I came back to my bed, someone was sleeping in my spot. Knowing that even Spirits need their Beauty rest, I retired to the couch for the rest of the morning...

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Remembering...


Saturday, April 18, 2020

Ke Ao...


Enlightened...

Day's Fiery End...


Friday, April 17, 2020

Flying...


Social Distancing since Two-Years Old...

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Always...


In Heaven...
And Upon Earth...
I Have Always...
Known...
And So Loved...
Beautiful You...

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Eyes...


Honolulu City Lights...


When I take my Nightly shower, and gaze out the window as I recite my end of the day Prayers, I have never seen so many lights on in the surrounding neighborhood.

I see Lights filled with Hope, Love, Gatherings, Family, Laughing, Sharing, Cooking, Singing, Dancing, Video and Face-Time calls, Stories, Prayers and so many Beautiful things...

Freefall...


I went to tie up the kitchen garbage bag and found this Paper Towel man staring back at me. I asked him to kindly not Scream as he plummets down the trash chute because we have elderly neighbors who might be unnecessarily startled...

Monday, April 13, 2020

Emergency...


Now this must have been unsettling back in the day. Watching television and then you have to go run around and look for your radio before the wave hits...

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Resurrection...


I was in college almost thirty-years ago. My photography class Professor, gave us a themed assignment for the weekend. One of the themes was "Resurrection" and we had to capture an image which evoked the word for us individually.

I talked my dorm roommate and treasured college friend, Tim, to come with me out to the Makapu'u seaside cliffs at about 11:00pm because the full Moon was out. We parked on the desolate roadway, climbed over the guardrail, and slowly made our way down with flashlights, and using the Moonlight where we could. 

Once in awhile, a car would approach, and slow down, at the sight of the bobbing lights descending the dark cliffside, then speeding off most likely figuring that we were night fisherman. 

I carried my camera and tripod and a small bag, trying not so stumble, trip or slide down the rocky cliff, and slide right into the dark rough ocean to my untimely death. 

When we reached the bottom, I set up my tripod, and had Tim carefully climb to the top of a small hill, with the Moonlight behind him. I then adjusted my camera settings the best I could to capture what my Mind and Heart saw and desired. 

This was a film camera. No instant LCD screen to examine what you just digitally captured, to adjust the shots, like photography today. This was old school. You captured, and then it would be few days to process the film ourselves, and then dry it and then expose the photographic paper in another darkroom to determine if your night trip was worth it or had been a total waste of time.

As I opened the shutter, and yelled to Tim to stay as still as he could, in the enveloping winds, I laid down on the cliff rock with a can of  hairspray that I had used to spray my rocker hair, and a lighter, and I sprayed a line of hairspray while lighting it with the lighter making a trail of flames to expose onto the camera film. Hoping it would come out good.

This is the result of those efforts. Resurrection...

When I look at the darkness that enveloped me during my college years, I have so many harrowing stories of situations and decisions that could have easily cost me my Freedom, or even my Life. 

I celebrate Easter quietly, in Humble Reflection, and Sincere Gratitude, for my Greatest Teacher, Confident and Truly Best Friend and Constant Companion, my Beautiful Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Or as I affectionally call him, "Yashua." 

He has delivered me so many times from tragic fates and taught me through my own Death and Resurrection, how to truly Savor this Amazing Beautiful Learning Journey of our Soul, the Human Journey.

I also remain humbly grateful for so many other Teachers, including my parents, grandparents, all family and even Ancestors, and the professional education teachers that sacrificed so much through all of my schooling, and who Believed in me, from Pre-School all the way to Law School and Beyond. 

Also Bosses, Co-Workers, Friends, Mentors, and so many others.

I am grateful for all of my Spiritual Teachers as well, from Humble Gifted Friends who tap into the Divine Messengers, to all of my Hawaiian ancestors and Elemental Deities, akua and kupua, who have shared such Powerful Wisdom, including all Sentient Life, in the water and winds, the rocks, plants and trees, and Beautiful Mother Earth herself.

I am grateful for Buddha, the Dalai Lama, and Zen Master Thich Nhat Hahn, and so many thought provoking storytellers, writers, poets, singers, musicians, playwrights, artists and an array of all Creative Collective Humanity who share their inner Beings.

I have also learned recently, through Beautiful and Humble and Gifted Friends, connecting to Higher Divine Beings and Ascended Masters of Light, that COVID-19 itself, is a Consciousness. Here to teach Humanity important lessons, for a massive Reset of Humanity itself, to Heal Mother Earth, and ultimately save ourselves from...ourselves. 

A virus. Existing in that vague area of Life between the Living and Non-Living biological classification. Yet itself a Consciousness. Honestly, that took awhile for me to cognitively digest, but when I listened to my na'au, my visceral Guide, I understood and accepted it completely.

That instead of reacting with Fear, which only serves to lower our collective vibrations, that we should look and ask, COVID-19, what are you here to teach us?

We have continued as a Species, to exercise our selfish Dominance over all sentient Life here on Earth, including Mother Earth herself. We are taking, and taking, and taking, with no gratitude or consideration for all the other Life that shares this tiny Precious Planet in an Infinite Universe, because of our own desires, wants and consumptive materialistic so-called "needs."

With so many borders in the World, so much Separation from Earth which gives us Food and Life. Separation even from each other. The artificial values, established by the Ego. By Arrogance. By Superiority. By Competition. By Greed. By Establishing the Accumulation of Money as the horrible and tragic Barometer of what constitutes a successful Life in this hurting Society. This hurting World. We are assuredly bringing about our own mass extinction just as other precious Life forms now face. 

These are the messages arriving from the Observers of Humanity's Predicament. Humbly Grateful to my Beautiful Gifted Friends for channeling these messages for us all to ponder, including myself. 

We should focus on the Goodness and Healing that is coming about because of the situation. The signs and stories of Resurrection. The Incredible Moving and Beautiful Acts of Selfless Love and Giving. 

Where Love and Light begin to Spark deep inside and ignite the Flames of Passion, Endless Possibilities, an Opportunity to Live in a New Harmonious, Balanced and Peaceful Way, gives Rise to much needed Hope.

We can keep the Love and Light flowing with Humility and Gratitude, for so many, many Blessings each day, each moment, and especially with each strong clear Breath of Beautiful Life-Giving and Precious Life-Sustaining Air. 

Precious things we so often take for granted each day while we focus on what we lost or don't have...

I have been at Death's somber, yet Beautiful, door before.  The Peace and Calm of knowing you Lived this Life, with Compassion, Kindness, Caring, Love, Forgiveness, Humility and Gratitude, meant absolutely everything in the End...

Treasure and Savor the small meaningful Encounters with Others on this Shared Learning Journey of our Souls. They mean the most in the End of this Journey.

And try to simply Remember the Love and Light which Lovingly Created Us. All of Us. Which Really and Truly is Us...

Life is Truly Eternal as we finally close our Eyes, and take our first steps to begin a whole Other Journey...

So I wish my Best Friend and Greatest Teacher Yashua a most Beautiful and Happy Easter, as I so genuinely and sincerely Wish All of You...

And I have added yet another Amazing Teacher to my ever growing Collective of Spiritual Masters.

COVID-19...

Thank you. Love you. With Humility and Gratitude. Always...

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Welo...


One of my Favorite photographs of my Father, Elliott Raymond Markell. Here he is, on his 1946 Harley Davidson Knucklehead, in July of 1952. He rotated through several Harley Davidson bikes and an Indian Motorcycle too. He was trying to woo my Mother and capture her Heart with his cool James Dean vibe. 

In actuality, he was a sensitive and soft man, trying to be cool and rebellious. He wrote Poetry and Love letters to my Mother. And she, to him. I read them today in humble witness to the depth and power of their Love.

He worked parking cars in a big parking lot, and lifted weights during breaks with a barbell set stashed at his work place. He loved driving all the cars to park them. He often made offers to buy cars and would cycle through different cars, often picking my Mother up for dates in a different car every so often.

My father considered himself a "Knucklehead" growing up. He once shared that when he was seven years old, World War II had just broken out and the December 7, 1941 bombing of Pearl Harbor had just occurred. 

His family and grandparents were talking about WWI and WWII in the living room of their home in upstate New York. 

His uncle, Manley, asked my father, in front of the whole assembled family, who the current President of the United States was now that War had broken out. 

My father genuinely answered who he thought. He said, "Abraham Lincoln" and everyone erupted in laughter. My dad ran away so shamed and embarrassed that he didn't know enough, and he hid out for the remainder of the day.

He dropped out of high school too later on. But when he met and fell in Love with my Mother, he wanted to give her a good life. So he went back and finished high school, being the oldest and biggest student in class. He was so embarrassed.

He then graduated with a less than stellar GPA. However, he applied to Rutgers University, and wrote the longest personal statement he could, longer than their recommended word limit. They admitted him, despite his poor grades, because the school was impressed with how hard he tried to fix his life.

He joined the Navy, as a Seamen. When he graduated from Rutgers, he joined the United States Marine Corps and went to Officer Candidate School. He worked his way up to Lt. Colonel, was a Vietnam Veteran, and retired out of Fleet Marine Force Pacific Headquarters at Camp Smith as a leading expert in Wartime Reserves, serving as Wartime Reserve Manager in G-4 Logistics and also serving as Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence for the Commanding General. He earned many Letters of Commendation along the way and some Meritorious Service Medals issued by the President of the United States and Secretary of the Navy.

Love can make you change your Life for the Better. Thank you Father. Thank you Mother. Love you Both Immensely. Always and Forever... 

I will always seek to Improve my Life, Character and Being, for I so Love You... 

Happy...


My father, Elliott Markell, on the right, with his best friend, on a beach somewhere on Long Island, New York, in a photograph taken by my grandfather, Elliott Markell, Sr. and fortunately still existing.  So Elliott Markell, III, scanned this photograph to share while my first-son, Elliott Markell, IV, is in his room catching virtual fish on Animal Crossing on his his Nintendo Switch. 

If you wonder why both boys are smiling and happy in this capture, that is because they were both drinking cold refreshing Coca-Cola from old stock that my Grandfather stashed away from the Turn-of-the-Century. Back when Coke was made with Coca leaves...

Friday, April 10, 2020

The Daze of Summer...


The more I am stuck indoors, the more I find myself losing track of what day it is. What week it is. Even what month it is. So in an abundance of caution, I just want to wish everyone a Happy Halloween already...

Mai Poina...


Never Forget...

Maka...


Yes...
I Love You...
Very Much...
Too...

Sequestered...


Extreme Social Distancing in Waikīkī...

Wao Akua...


Up in the Wao akua...
Where the akua...
The Elemental Deities...
Dwell...
Now where my Beloved...
Sister Nalani...
Resides as well...

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Welo...








I choose this moment to share, and Honor, my Beautiful Great-Great-Grandmother, Adelia Bryant. I only have this Beautiful photo of her, and not much else. I can only imagine the hardships she encountered in her Life. The suffering and sacrifices to help the family not only thrive, but more importantly, to survive.

But for her, I would not be here right now. As I gaze upon her countenance, I can feel her Presence aside me, bringing many tears forth, in recognition of her Guidance and Love. I Love her Immensely...

Her family and lineage includes the famous American Poet, William Cullen Bryant, born in 1794 in Massachusetts. I have a little book of one of his poems, Thanatopsis, published in 1894, from my own father. I have included the beginning of the Poem and the ending here as it is quite lengthy. William wrote Thanatopsis about Death. It is believed he wrote it at the age of seventeen. So young, and a Poem about Death. That speaks volumes...

William was also a lawyer and a poet.

He wrote another poem entitled, 'The Disinterred Warrior" which begins with:

Gather him to his grave again,
And solemnly and softly lay,
Beneath the verdure of the plain,
The warrior's scattered bones away.
Pay the deep reverence, taught of old,
The homage of man's heart to death;
Nor dare to trifle with the mould
Once hallowed by the Almighty's breath...

And ends with:

A noble race! but they are gone,
With their old forests wide and deep,
And we have built our homes upon
Fields where their generations sleep.
Their fountains slake our thirst at noon,
Upon their fields our harvest waves,
Our lovers woo beneath their moon --
Then let us spare, at least, their graves!

I sometimes wonder, in addition to my Spirit Guides, Angels and 'Aumakua, how much influence my Great-Great-Grandmother Adelia Bryant and William Cullen Bryant, Guide my Life, my Writing, and my Poetry, from the Otherside of the Veil...

I love them both very much. 

In Humble Gratitude, Always...

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Returned...


She has Returned...
As I Seek my Refuge...
In Her Fragile Heart...
And my only Salvation...
In Her Soft Sacred...
Eternally Wanting Kiss...

Ke Ao...


I found this old photo from about twenty-years ago. While working at the Burial Sites Program, my co-worker, Kana'i Kapeliela, and I emerged from investigating a lava tube in a large South Kona development. It was a little before 10:00pm at night when we finally made it out. We had started at the entrance about 5:00pm, after the construction site had shut down for the day, because the passages would branch off and split up and lead into all directions.

You could always see roof-fall inside of the tubes where potions of the ceiling fell down inside. We never wanted to be unknowingly crawling under a roadway with heavy trucks driving directly above us, as you could easily be killed. So we began our investigations at night, spending sometimes four to five hours crawling through just one tube system to confirm the existence or absence of cultural remains, especially ancestral Native Hawaiian human skeletal remains.

We hadn't extensively investigated and explored lava tubes to this extent before being involved in a lawsuit over identification, protection and disposition of the many ancestral burial sites on the project area. The presiding Judge in the case, had asked our Division archaeologist, on the witness stand, who from our regulatory agency goes into the lava tubes to verify the presence or absence of remains. 

The archaeologist told the truth and said nobody from the State. The contract archaeologist was the one who checked and verified the lava tubes that were discovered during construction activities, when an opening would collapse in, and reveal the once hidden lava tubes.

The Judge and the courtroom observers were all shocked, and rightfully so. The State was ordered to independently investigate and explore the breached lava tubes independently of the developers contractors and consultants. 

Burial staff were not trained as archaeologists, but we volunteered to assist in verifying, especially when our archaeologist at the time was suffering from chronic ailments and quickly became nauseous when entering the tubes with us. 

His health was frail at the time and we didn't want to have him die, so we volunteered. Seemingly, for once, nobody in the office challenged our expertise or experience as being unqualified to conduct what was tantamount to archaeological survey, not being archaeologists. It would turn out to be brutal and dangerous work at times, little did we know.

Thus Kana'i and I found ourselves responsible for entering the property in the evening, to inspect breached lava tubes found during utility trenching or other Earth-moving activities of the day. 

Often when driving through the project during the day, conducting inspections, we would see lava tube entrances that had been breached and subsequently filled in and blocked with giant boulders. We would ask the workers and contract archaeologists, if anyone had gone into the tube to determine the extent of the tube and the presence or absence of cultural remains. 

The answers were usually the same. "Yes. So and so was the monitor at the time of the discovery, and they went in and said there wasn't any sign of cultural material." We would make notes of the location of the tube on the project map and determine which one we would investigate later that evening.

We were at a disadvantage when we retuned under cover of nightfall in the quiet, dark and eerily still construction site. We had to provide our own light, using flashlights and sometimes the headlights of our rental car.

Also, some of the breached tubes had their entrances blocked by massive boulders lifted with giant machinery that very same day. We had nothing to remove them. However, through prayer and observation, and the assistance of the ancestors, we learned that if we dug with our hands, below the boulders, through the dirt and removed the smallest of stones, eventually the boulders would shift and come tumbling out, as we quickly scurried away as not to get crushed or killed.

Sometimes we would spend an hour slowly digging with our gloved hands until enough boulders shifted and rolled allowing us an entrance point.

It was an important lesson, understanding how seemingly massive and immovable obstacles in Life, can often be shifted and removed, through the steady and careful identification and removal of the smallest of blockages, using Faith. I still ponder on the lessons even today. 

The next morning, the work crews would arrive and wonder how the massive boulders were all removed. Simply hand-digging. We said nothing however.

Some of the tubes which were supposedly investigated upon breach and discovery, were obviously not investigated, as we would crawl in, and find some knee and handprints, and drag marks, in the fine silt covering the bottom of the cave, for about ten-feet, then it would suddenly end, while the tube itself went on for a hundred yards, as we would ultimately find out, crawling inch-by-inch to its terminus. Untouched pristine silt.

Once inside of the tube, if there were multiple branches, we would volunteer to each take one and crawl to its terminus to save time. It was very dangerous however, to lose sight and sound, and the whereabouts of your partner for hours on end. We were alone. Just our rental car parked outside. No third safety person. If something happened to us, it would probably would take until the next morning for anyone to notice our vehicle, and then enter the tube to search for our bodies.

I was overweight and stressed out from the work itself. I could have easily had a heart-attack deep inside with no chance for help. We moved on Faith alone, protected only by our own Humility and assessing our own Hearts and the Love for the Ancestors.

Some tubes required you to crawl on your stomach, lifting yourself up by a few inches, and pulling yourself forward a foot, then laying down again, only to repeat the process. Like doing low push-ups, one at time, while you move forward. Some on dusty silty floors. Others on pahoehoe or a'a lava which tended to shred up your shirt and stomach. Other tubes would have areas where you could stand up and walk, and yet others, shot up with twenty foot ceilings like cathedrals. 

We also learned, from being inside of the tubes, that sometimes a tube would be breached, like under a roadway, but you would have no way of knowing it from the surface. The roads looked normal. However, when you went into the lava tube, you would eventually find a portion of the tube that was blocked completely from the collapse above. 

Whether the collapse fell and crushed burials, or whether the tube continued on the other side of the collapse, and held cultural materials, couldn't be determined without discover another entrance to that particular tube system.

We had tried using handheld radios, but quickly learned that they were effectively useless in the tubes as the useful range quickly went to zero in the twisting irregular passages. 

When we had to split up, we would often yell to each other, until the yells became muffled. Then finally, only vibrating murmurs, and then ultimately just dead silence. I would yell and listen for the faintest sound of a response. Nothing. 

Everything was pitch black, and we had to bring multiple sources of light because if your one flashlight stopped working, and hour to two deep into the cave, you were done. No way to crawl out without light, even in the brightest of Sunlight outside. Pitch black. 

We found passages blocked by roof-fall or filled in, which led to other potions of the tube, and often dozens of more yards, or another twisting and undulating hundred yards. More branches, more forks. Ledges high above us, fifteen feet or more, which led to new tubes, and drops and lower tubes below us from the once molten lava of akua Pele as it made it's way to Kanaloa's Domain, the Ocean.

We would often see cultural material, like kukui nuts, and the shells of small crabs, used for what we called "kupuna energy snacks." Faunal remains. Artifacts. Sometimes carrying poles used to carry the bodies into the furthest recesses of the cave. And yes, many human remains in some of the caves. 

It was important to know who was where, because the development activities above could collapse in portions of the tube. 

An attempt to plant a tree on a golf-course fairway in the middle of the trial, ending up puncturing a lava tube and when we investigated, the puncture debris had fallen right on top of a kupuna.

Sometimes I would be so exhausted, after crawling for hours on my stomach, sometimes inches at time, trying not to inhale the fine dust and disturbed silt, inches from my face, that I would turn over on my back, and turn off my light, and just lay there in the cold dark silent space. Trying to capture my breath.

It was like the tubes absorbed any possible sounds and it was quieter than you ever thought a silence could possibly be. Just listening to your own breathing, and your own Heart beating in the blood vessels in your ears. 

It was at those times, that I softly spoke to the ancestors around me. Explaining why we were there invading the refuge and sanctuary for the Souls. Understanding that the darkest of black, was the World of Pō. Illuminated and Balanced only by the Light of my Own Being. My Own Soul. In a place where the Veil between here and there, us and them, was already kapa thin. 

Other times, I would be trying to squeeze through a small opening, only to have my stomach get stuck halfway through the opening, and be wedged there, unable to move forward anymore or reverse back out. My bulging hernia didn't help in those situations, as I would have to wait until I could slowly and painfully shift my guts around, to finally get through and continue investigating.

Another time we entered and crawled through a tube, only to find that it led to a ledge and about a 10 foot drop to a lower cave where we had suspected there had been a unreported surface breach and collapse. 

The ledge we had to crawl upon seemed fragile, like it could give away under our individual weight and send us plummeting down below to possible injury or death. 

We took a chance, and I slowly crawled out onto the ledge on my stomach, while my partner held the flashlight to illuminate that portion of the cave. I inched ever so slowly, until I could hang onto the ledge with my upper body, and slowly slide my legs across the over the ledge and pointed them at the dark ground behind and below me. 

We had seen a large boulder looking piece of lava that seemed like I could possibly hang onto the ledge, and get my feet down to touch it, and then lower myself down. It looked about six feet down in my estimation, and I being six-feet, should able to extend my legs down backwards, and reach it to lower my whole body down. I erred, however, in my estimation of its distance. Almost fatally.

Unfortunately, as I crawled out, and attempted to position myself on the ledge to lower my legs down, I got to a point where I was hanging on the ledge by my torso, locked under my ribcage, while my legs were dangling and swinging blindly below, trying desperately to feel for any foothold, but nothing was there. I had misjudged my own height against the apparent height of the boulder.

I was stuck in that position, and my diaphragm was compressed on the ledge by my own body weight, and I was starting to hyperventilate out of fear, and soon was having trouble breathing.  I couldn't let myself down, nor pull myself back up, slowly suffocating and losing muscular strength.

My partner could see the desperation in my face and started to try and slowly crawl onto the ledge towards me. He saw my feet were too far from the rock below. I desperately told him not to because our combined weight would surely snap the ledge and we would both plummet to injury or death, using up what breath I had left in yelling that out.

I will never forget that moment. Stuck there, suffocating, thinking I was going to pass out, and fall down and fall backward and break my leg, or hit my head on the many lava boulders, and that could effectively be the end of my life. 

I thought about my family, my wife, my two-year old and my newborn. Life's over. For what? Trying to save the bones of my ancestors. I actually went numb and started to pass out, still stuck on the ledge, as the edge dug into my stomach and chest. There was no where to go. Up or down. I was stuck and immovable. 

All I could think of was "help me..." to anyone who was listening. Anyone. Screaming only in my quickly fading mind resigning itself to unconsciousness and joining the Ancestors prematurely.

Then I don't really have an explanation for what happened next. As my legs were flailing around beneath me in the dark, I suddenly felt rock touch my the bottom of my right foot. It was impossible. 

Either my leg somehow grew longer, or the rock I felt moved up to meet my foot. It hadn't been close enough for me to touch as my partner watched in horror, wanting to crawl out to me to try and pull me up.

But it was somehow miraculously and mysteriously there. 

I extended my foot down and slowly, using what little strength I had, to lift myself up inches, to get my locked ribcage off of the ledge, the only thing that had kept me hanging there, and slowly lowered my other foot down, feeling the same rock below me, until I could lower my whole body down and fall to the tube floor. 

It took me awhile to catch my breath and allow my Heart to stop pounding in my chest.

My partner then crawled back out of the tube and found a metal ladder in a manhole that was being installed and carried, slid and dragged it, inch-by-inch, back into the tube and we set it up and secured it, so he could safely climb down and more importantly, we both could climb back up and out when we were finished, provided we didn't discover any other entrances or exits in that tube system, during our exploration.

Sure enough, we didn't go very far before we discovered a massive collapse and breach of the tube from above, where a roadway was in the project area. It had collapsed in, and it had been filled in with rubble. 

We had no idea what lay on the other side of the rubble, or what may lie beneath. However, it confirmed our suspicions of unreported breaches.

There are many more stories best saved for another day and time of reflection. 

I was always amazed at how difficult it was to traverse many of these lava tubes. Even though we had modern protective gear, helmets, kneepads, respirator masks, gloves, and flashlights, we would often emerge beat up and bruised, and even bloody at times. The amount of blood that pours out of scalp wounds is always alarming for the shocked observer. 

Yet, you could crawl for hours, only to find an ancestor, lovingly placed in the furthest reaches of the cave, hundreds of yards, carried by someone who Loved them, without the benefit of our modern day protective gear.

A kukui nut oil lamp or torch. A carrying pole. Some crab snacks. A malo. And not much else. It made us truly understand the tremendous effort and personal sacrifice our ancestor made to ensure that a loved and revered family member would rest undisturbed for Eternity.

Yet, the Human's insatiable appetite to build and develop the land to accommodate more and more of their consumerism and materialistic desires destroys and disrupts the true Spiritual Cycles that give All of Us Life.

And there are truly no words to express my gratitude, to the kupuna in that cave that night, and to the mysterious Rock that helped Save my Life.

That simply delivered a Father and Husband back home to his family. Not in a casket. But Alive...

Important Memorable Experiences, Profound Lessons, and the continued Refinement of my Soul on this Shared Human Journey. 

Thank you. Have Faith. With Humility and Gratitude. Learn to Trust. Believe in Love... 

Love you All...

Be Safe and Well out there...

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Beauty...


I have Borne...
Witness...
To Such...
Breathtaking Beauty...
In this Humbling Life...

Monday, April 6, 2020

Ka Hali'a Aloha...

















I found these photographs that my Father had taken years ago in Washington, D.C. at a Hawaiian Festival. Posting them in case someone recognizes themselves or a loved one and wants to download, save, print or otherwise preserve a memory that would otherwise be buried in a cardboard box until oblivion. Shared with Love...