As you sit cross-legged on your blanket in a circle, surrounded by the jungle, colorful CINO shirt fluttering in the salty breeze, you hear the oli chant of the dancers asking permission to enter to sacred space. The wind gently moving through the leaves of the lush canopy answers and, weaving their way through the thick underbrush, the women stop to gather lauae used to make the traditional lei: a symbolic act that connects each of them to the land, their movements praising Laka, the goddess of Hula.
As the sun sets, you reflect on the horizon, a thin strip that separates land from sea, and you remember your early morning scuba lesson, the smoothness of the abalone found in the shallows and the evening’s bonfire in the dunes. All at once, you once again summon the feeling of the cool waves on your skin, the opalescent shell that fits perfectly into your palm, the soft white sand in your hair and the warmth of the flames close to your bare feet. “Ah,” you say, “this is why I came here, this is the magic Maui holds,: as you smile and connect your mind to your body and your body to your mind, while your soul swells in wonderment and pleasure.
Back in time, beach lovers and surfers from the world over found themselves drawn to Maui, in search of a place where time is slow, where the air is gentle and the sound of the pounding surf combined with the calls of the jungle birds are a constant reminder of what a precious gift this life, this planet, this place, is.
Visiting Haleakala National Park, along with experiencing Hula, is a must. Sunrise there has been described as both sublime and transcendent as color and light swirl over a vastness of clouds. This “House of the Sun” towers over the island at 10,000 feet, and presents breathtaking sunsets as well. Hawaiian legend speaks of the demigod Maui, who captured the sun as it traversed the sky while standing on the volcano’s summit, slowing its descent to make the day last longer.
With over 30,000 acres of stunning landscapes — Martian red deserts, crashing waterfalls, rock gardens — there are also miles of hiking and horseback trails that offer solitude as well as scenic vistas. The endangered species protected by the Park (including the State Bird, the Hawaiian Goose known as nene and the blooming Silversword flower ahinahina) make everyone a birder and a botanist, thrilled to catch even a glimpse.
As inspirational and unique as Maui is, it shares the sentiments of the Hawaiian people and their deep roots to their culture and relationship to nature. In the spirit of malama (to give back), you are welcomed to join in collective efforts that offer deep and rich engagements to the islands and the culture of Hawaii: when is it not a good time to plant native trees or help clean up a beach?
April through May and September through November are the best time to go as the weather remains gorgeous but the crowds have lessened.