|Green turtle surfacing - photo by Jeff Seminoff, NOAA|
I hope to confirm this over the next week, when I will be leading an adventure in shamanic dreaming and creating in Hawaii. A certain story has been after me since my first visit to Hawaii, back in 1998, and I'll be glad if it comes after me again.
During my first days in Hawaii, I found myself in a waking dream. The whole landscape was so vividly alive. Early on the morning of my birthday, I swam at Waimea Beach, on the wild north shore of Oahu, under gentle rain. Leaning towers of cloud and mist rose from the gorge behind the beach. A woman in a wetsuit was going down to the water; her hair was golden seaweed. From the water’s edge, the ocean floor slanted down sudden and deep. I slid into warm, gentle surf.
"I saw you swimming with the sea turtles."
"I am a caller of sea turtles," she announced, quite matter-of-factly. I did not doubt her. "Are you a poet?" she asked me.
She asked me to read what I had written. How do you refuse a caller of sea turtles with golden seaweed for hair?
I want to go under
The rainbow’s ocean gate
Sea turtle takes me through
Years passed, and I began to write a novel-length story involving a man whose idea of paradise is a lot like Hawaii; not surprising, since the word Hawaii, I am told, is a contraction of Hawaiiki, a Polynesian term for paradise. So when he dies, my character finds himself traveling to a place like one of the Hawaiian islands where life after life is good until things start to fall apart because it's time for him to move on. I did not complete this book. It lies in a great pile of other unfinished manuscripts.
As I prepare to return to the islands, I am thinking of how stories may lie in wait in certain waters, like those spirits waiting to be born. I'll be happy if my Hawaiian story chooses to find me again.