Anne walking in tide pool (lower left)

Have you ever been two people at once—two people in one place in two different times simultaneously? Not just in your mind, but in your body? Once this happened to me.

January 2010, Kona, Hawaii. I remember the soft bluish green tide pool extending around and below the hotel. Olive green sea turtles on the lava rocks. Ocean crashing out beyond. Warm sun electric on the vast shallow pool edged by ancient heiau of lava stone.

I remember a fascination from the moment we arrived, an insistent PULL to enter, to explore, quivering in my belly, despite never having been greatly interested in tide pools before. When I was “finally” able to enter the next day I sighed with pleasure and relief. Tide was coming in, so I stepped slowly and carefully, peering through to the bottom for sea urchins and sea slugs. Grinning.

At one point my belly began to urge caution. Voices in my head told me the pool was big and unexplored, dangerous to go further with the tide coming in. 

Anne walking in tide pool

So I sat on a large rock about halfway across, water rising to my chest. At once I began to cry, overflowing with emotion—joy, a sense of rightness in being there, feeling I had come home after a tragic absence. Everything around me was luminous. As I looked out to sea, I saw a large white bird like an egret standing at the breakwater —and moments later it was gone. I felt blessed, welcomed.

At that moment a small part of me—the Scandinavian/British woman in her 60’s who had been to Hawaii only 3 or 4 times before—was puzzled. But mostly I was flooded with joy, relief at feeling rightfully home at last. Tears continued to fall. 

When I was ready, I turned back, satisfied that I was being properly cautious and also exhilarated by the experience. I chattered excitedly to my companions about it, told them about my plans to return the next day. They listened but were quiet.

I remember my confusion the next day. I did return to the pool but the allure was gone. It looked the same, but I couldn’t understand why it seemed so much bigger the day before, so much more exciting. I had no hesitation walking all the way across nearly to the sea line. It was pleasant, enjoyable to be there, but the emotions of the day before were gone. 

Today I’m me, who was I yesterday?

A day or two after that a tour guide told us that while Hawaiian parents long ago did chores near the shore here, kids worked collecting creatures from these tide pools, among other tasks.  Suddenly I knew in my belly and heart: that first day at the pool I had been one of those children, exploring the pool, seeing it as a child would have, hearing the cautions given by my mother. A child from centuries past returning to a beloved place. And welcomed home by Spirit: I remembered that the white bird that appeared and disappeared was as large as a small airplane, so it had to be a spirit bird.

Wonderment!

Who am I really?

 

 

(photos taken by Tom Peek)

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