The Rare Blossoming Silversword Plant

 

Plants which grow at the high elevations on Mauna Kea on the Big Island of Hawaii (11,000 – 12,000 feet) and Haleakala on Maui (9,000 – 10,000 feet) are particularly adapted to little rainfall, harsh weather, a huge ultra-violet impact from the sun and a cindery substrate that holds little water.One of the most uniquely adapted plants in this alpine zone is the rare blossoming silversword plant, also knows as ‘ahinahina’. The leaves are thick and groove-shaped for catching rain. They are covered with a mat of tiny silver hairs that both reflect the heat of the sun and absorb whatever moisture there is from the passing mists.

Some ‘ahinahina’ live up to 50 years before flowering once and dying.

The Hawaiian word hinahina means “silver” or “gray.” At one time ‘ahinahina’ were so abundant on the volcanic mountain slopes that Hawaiian paniolos, ie.,cowboys, sang songs about the blinding glare from the reflection of the sun on their leaves.

The ‘ahinahina’ or silversword is found only on the islands of Maui and Hawai‘i.

Originally widespread across the lower elevations of these volcanic slopes, the plant was victim, like so many others, to the browsing and rooting of cattle, sheep and goats that were introduced to the islands in the late 18th century. Once common as low as 6,000 feet, the ‘ahinahina were pushed further up the mountain because of the increasing numbers of grazing animals. By 1920, surviving ‘ahinahina’ were seen only at higher elevations (10,000 -12,000 feet) on steep cliff faces or rocky shelves, where goats and sheep couldn’t go.

A Morning View of Wailuku Town

Wailuku town is a small, quaint historic area. It is the government seat housing county, state and federal offices.  Along its one block main street can be found a variety of interesting shops and eateries. A museum, a theater, churches and a banyon tree park can be found in and around Wailuku Town. It is the gateway to Iao Valley. The town is situated at 249 feet above sea level, at the base of the much eroded West Maui Volcano known to traditional Hawaiians as Maui Komohana and more recently as Mauna Kahalawai.

 

For more information about Wailuku Town, visit the official website at: http://www.wailukumaui.org/

Hawaii Ranch Land

 

Just outside of Kamuela, Hawaii, a small town on the Big Island, at about 2700 feet high, is vast open Hawaii ranch land, owned by the Parker Ranch. The day I was there, rain pelted the area making for what I thought would be for poor photography. But, I was wrong. The clouds, rain, gray sky, made for some very soft, subtle and moody images of the trees which dotted the open spaces…..

 

The Parker Ranch was founded in 1847 and is one of the oldest ranches in the United States, pre-dating many mainland ranches in Texas  and other southwestern states by more than 30 years. Spreading across approximately 250,000 acres of the island, Parker Ranch is also among the nation’s largest cattle ranches. One may not think of cattle ranching in Hawaii; but, Hawaii ranch land is there and part of today’s Hawaii on the Big Island.

Wainapanapa State Park

 

Wainapanapa State Park, a few miles west of Hana, Maui, is a wonderfully scenic location. The Hawaiian word Wainapanapa translates to English as ‘glistening fresh water’ referring to the nearby fresh water streams and sparkling pools of this rainforest area on Maui’s north eastern side. Home to one of Maui’s few black sand beaches, lava tubes and stunning lava rock formations, the rugged coastline offers spectacular sights when both calm and stormy. A great place for picnics, hiking and even camping. Wainapanapa State Park is one of those brilliant gems to be found on Maui.

 

Below is a delightful descriptive excerpt from Fodor’s travel website about this magical and historical place:

 

“Small but rarely crowded, this beach will remain in your memory long after your visit. Fingers of white foam rush onto a black volcanic-pebble beach fringed with green beach vines and palms. Swimming here is both relaxing and invigorating: Strong currents bump smooth stones up against your ankles while seabirds flit above a black, jagged sea arch. There are picnic tables and grills. At the edge of the parking lot a sign tells you the sad story of a doomed Hawaiian princess. Stairs lead through a tunnel of interlocking Polynesian hau (a native tree) branches to an icy cave pool—the secret hiding place of the ancient princess. You can swim in this pool, but beware of mosquitoes. In the other direction a dramatic 3-mile coastal path continues past sea arches, blowholes, cultural sites, and even a ramshackle fishermen’s shelter, all the way to Hana town.”

The Meditative Mind

calm serene coastal sunset

 

“The soil in which the meditative mind can begin is the soil of everyday life, the strife, the pain, and the fleeting joy. It must begin there, and bring order, and from there move endlessly. But if you are concerned only with making order, then that very order will bring about its own limitation, and the mind will be its prisoner. In all this movement you must somehow begin from the other end, from the other shore, and not always be concerned with this shore or how to cross the river. You must take a plunge into the water, not knowing how to swim. And the beauty of meditation is that you never know where you are, where you are going, what the end is.”  – Jiddu Krishnamurti