Friday, October 26, 2007

A State of Grace

Hawaii is not a state of mind, but a state of grace. Paul Theroux

Back to the blog after a whirlwind few weeks of getting ready for an art exhibit and open house to benefit a volunteer organization I am a part of, and two weeks of vacation in Hawaii to recover from said project. Little did I know when I left in the wee hours of the "morning after", that this trip, like all the other major trips in my life, was at the right time, in the right place. and I was about to discover what Paul Theroux meant by his quote.

It is hard to go to a place where rainbows are around every corner and not think about grace. I spent the first three days of my trip in Hilo on the Big Island while my husband worked on his power plant project. Who knew the Japanese Garden I longed to see was right next to the Hilo Hawaiian where we were staying? Between the exhaustion of the trip and the weeks before, as exhilarating as the event had been, I was in the mood to be in a calm place, surrounded by ponds, statues, pagodas, with the added bonus of the garden looking out on the bay and Mauna Kea. I knew the trip was timely when the one day my husband was gone until the wee hours was also the day that the mountain was not covered by clouds (a rare occurrence).

I have learned over the years, while I love both the water and the mountains, it is the mountains that sustain me during meditation times. When it comes to water, I am more of a sound side person rather than ocean. The islands had plenty of waterfalls, quiet bays, rivers and ponds. They also had plenty of mountains peeking in and out of clouds at just the right moments. But somehow, the divine plan knew, at this point in the trip, I needed this garden without clutter, the old people walking slowly in the morning, and the toddlers being chased by moms in the afternoon. The mama mongoose with two babies, the tea house ceremony I happened upon and being reminded of a dear Japanese friend, the calm of the lagoons crossed by perfectly arched bridges, the bonsai, captivated my mind and spirit. Not to mention I realized my zen garden had been almost a premonition and would be a reminder of my trip, based on the stones I had placed so carefully. I literally could feel my soul unwind.

There will be lots to ponder about my Hawaii trip in the coming weeks, about grace, beauty, and perseverance. That is the beauty of memories, now that my jet lagged mind is less cluttered and my soul is calm.